Life Elsewhere Music Vol 215

Thank goodness superb new music keeps arriving at Life Elsewhere Towers, after being in isolation for months on end and our world seemingly falling to pieces what with Covid and an insurrection attempt at the United States Capitol building, it’s a welcome reminder that there are creative people out there proving that many of us are not full of hate. In this volume of Life Elsewhere Music you’ll enjoy sixty minutes of carefully curated cuts beginning with Rob Merz, a musician out of Chicago who goes by the curious name of Static in Verona. Rob’s EP Darken Your Door proves he knows how to make emotionally-framed songs with a big loud backdrop. We like all three cuts, but the title track is our favorite. Next up, a fellow who says, “I don’t have any musical training, just some guitars and a heart full of soul” His LP, Hills And Homes take us on a journey through some familiar DIY sounds, with lyrics that will require another and another listen. Is he pissed off, is he being snarky? Not sure it matters, ‘cause the end result is entertaining. His name is Perel (we probably mispronounced his name) he is based in Israel and the cut we chose is Curls. What a delight to receive intriguing music from Sofia, Bulgaria courtesy of Mostly Harmless. Their debut EP, Echo suggests this six-piece band should not be overlooked. Strawberry Milkshake, the track you’ll hear features the added vocals of Dimi Georgiev who takes the song in a surprising turn. Kudos to @lundaze for the artwork. Singer-songwriter Uma says she is based between London and Barcelona and Bring Me The Mountain (featuring Lucy Lu) was written while in confinement, adding, “I never thought we’d live through a pandemic, watch the world go mad, have to fight for what is right again (and again), through the fear, despite the violence of thousands of years of oppressive systems, feel infinitely connected and lonely at the same time.” We suggest you check out more cuts from Uma. There is something about Molly Payton’s voice and attitude that comes across on Warm Body that implies she has been immersed in appreciating some of the great female rock ’n’ rollers. Raised in Aukland, now based in London, we are looking forward to more from Molly. Music from Dar es Salaam is next by Jamaica Mnanda with Masikini Naye Mtu (Troels B-Knudsen Dub). The translation is  The Poor are Also People. A lot of information came with this one, for example, the Mchiriku style of Jamaica is unique to Dar es Salaam. Made up of a singer, drums, chair, maracas, and Casio keyboard player, the band regularly plays on the streets of Dar es Salaam. The group is renowned for setting up a string of horn speakers spread down the street, amplifying their sound across the neighborhood. And, Troels B-Knudsen is something of an illustrious figure in the electronic music scene of his native Copenhagen. Shayon Brown has been rapping since she hit her teens, the Nigeria-born South London emcee goes by the moniker, Shaybo. On Dobale she uses the Yoruba slang of her heritage and Dobale refers to a “gesture of respect”. You may want to put this cut on repeat play because it is so irresistible. “Widescreen minimal alt-folk, with a touch of Americana” is how Guy Weir describes the music he makes as The Kindling. The London-based musician probably doesn’t know we try to avoid labels and genres, but we are certainly pleased to have discovered, Flesh And Blood. You’ll hear the slow version and you’re advised to check out the fast version. Lost Map is a label we highly recommend you make a point of investigating, there you will find London-based French singer-songwriter, Clémentine March who is on their roster with her second album, From Songs of Resilience. The eclectic artist says she recorded this over two days in November last year and it’s only her and an acoustic guitar. Into The Distance is a fine example of Clémentine’s work. From Lockhart, Texas–a small town lost in time—we find Natalie Ribbons & Jason Chronis who perform as Tele Novella with Never from their LP, Merlynn Belle. After enjoying their album, this is an outfit we would like to see live. From Philadelphia it’s Holidaykiss with Crossing who says their EP, Once And Future is about self-discovery, and acknowledging the pains of one’s past. We suspect this was not recorded in a super-expensive studio and we love it. The next one was recorded during the Covid-19 stay-at-home order in Washington state, says Moon Palace. Faultlines is the title, the first single off their new EP. The line up is Cat Biell – vocals & guitar, Carrie Biell – vocals & bass, Gabriel Molinaro- synth, and Jude Miqueli – drums. We think they have demonstrated a knack for writing and performing appealing pop songs. More, please! You’ll get out of breath watching Holly Humberstone’s video for Overkill where she keeps on running while strumming her guitar. This talented singer-songwriter from Lincolnshire doesn’t mess around in the lyrics department, “A couple more tequilas, And I’ll tell you how I’m feeling, Don’t wanna kill your evening, Don’t wanna be a buzzkill If I’m coming on strong”. Her EP is Falling Asleep At The Wheel and deserves your attention. Over in Sacramento Brianna Carmel and Josiah Masteller-Defiance, aka Blooming Heads modestly say their music is “Indie emo whatever”. Their slightly self-effacing label underplays a smart ability to construct excellent music. Make sure you check out all three songs on The Background EP. We selected Axis Access. Good stuff! Sarah Bates spent months in the jungles of Thailand, then returned to the lockdown in the UK and used all the video she had shot to make a movie. Burning With Love is part of the soundtrack from the LP, Khoa Rop. Even without the visuals, this is an impressive collection of music. 

A word about the artwork we have been using for recent volumes of Life Elsewhere Music. I have been collecting artwork for years, all of it by artists I have discovered, some have become better known than others. The collection has grown over the years to be larger than the wall space I currently have to display it. So, I decided to share my good fortune in being able to have such a wonderful collection. The images selected have no connection to the music, yet it’s interesting how many listeners have chosen to give their interpretations. Thank you for your input. I’m always interested in what you have to say. Send your thoughts to normanb@lifelesewhere.co 

LEM Vol 215 Playlist

  1. Static In Verona – Darken Your Door
  2. Perel – Curls
  3. Mostly Harmless – Strawberry Milkshake
  4. Uma – Bring Me The Mountain (ft Lucy Lu)
  5. Molly Payton – Warm Body
  6. Jamaica Mnanda – Masikini Naye Mtu (Troels B-Knudsen Dub)
  7. Shaybo – Dobale
  8. The Kindling – Flesh And Blood (Slow Version)
  9. Clementine March – Into The Distance
  10. Tele Novella – Never
  11. Holidaykiss – Crossing
  12. Moon Palace – Faultlines
  13. Holly Humberstone – Overkill
  14. Blooming Heads – Axis Access
  15. Sarah Bates – Burning With Love

The artwork for this volume is by Skip Mathewson “A good gun is a broken gun” 1989 4’ x 4’ Giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 215