Life Elsewhere Music Vol 218

Hello there, something a little different in this volume, it’s all music, non-stop for 60 minutes. The past week has been a bit of a strain on my vocal cords. Many Zoom interviews, a number of long, complicated voice-over reads, plus chatting on the phone and shouting at willfully-ignorant pundits on cable TV shows. So, when it came time to produce volume 218 of Life Elsewhere Music, I tried doing my usual ad-libbing but my croaky voice just doesn’t cut it. OK, wait for a few hours, gargle with a mixture of honey, lemon, and warm water, but time wasn’t on my side. We have to send the finished show out to our affiliate stations so they can upload it to their servers. Because of different time zones and upload schedules we are always working a couple of days before airtime. The result, no voice-over comments about the music from me, instead, you can read exactly what I would have spluttered into the microphone here…

In this, volume 218 of Life Elsewhere Music a stack of new music, plus I dig back into my archives to demonstrate how some music stands up to the test of time. As you listen try to match the year a song was released. We begin with Moosefrog a duo out of Helsinki, Finland. Their superb 2005 downtempo LP, Come was essential listening for me back then. It could be the sparse quirky vocals that make Sixshooter the cut I selected sounds so “now”. I would bet that NYC-based producer, Charlie Nieland will agree. The segue into Divisions from his new album of the same name proves my point. Charlie knows all about the right sound, after all, he is well known for his work with Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, Dead Leaf Echo, Debbie Harry, and more. Oui Plastique is next with Failure, this will be the lead single from their forthcoming debut album, Fraternity of Strangers. Oui Plastique is Martin Nyrup and James Thomas, they say Failure deals with themes of loss and hopelessness. We are looking forward to hearing more from these two smart musicians. Without you noticing, I segued into Nocturnal from Black Needle Noise with Helena Mamich. Serious trainspotters will recognize the name John Fryer who started his career in 1979 at London’s Blackwing Studios and soon began working with seminal bands on 4AD, Mute, Rough Trade, and Beggars Banquet, including Depeche Mode, The Wolfgang Press, and Cocteau Twins. His achievement in helping develop the latter’s pioneering ethereal and ambient sound ultimately led Ivo Watts-Russell to recruit Fryer as his partner for This Mortal Coil. It should be noted that Fryer’s imprint is impressive, having shaped the sound of bands from Nine Inch Nails and Cocteau Twins to HIM. Croatian-Australian soprano, Helena Mamich joins on Nocturnal. Another collaboration I’m eager to hear more from. The next cut is a curio I like to play to see people’s reactions. Its French singer, songwriter, and actor, Benjamin Biolay with Little Darlin’. This comes from his excellent 2003 LP, Négatif. Benjamin cleverly sampled The Carter Family from a 1931 recording. I promise you’ll want to hear this one again, and again. Biolay has new(ish) album which I’ll try to get on a future volume. It happens, every so often a band comes along I like so much I want you to hear more than one cut. Subsonic Eye is from Singapore, I know little about them, I’d like to give them all a namecheck. All I could find is they say “Just 5 friends jamming” and they have a cute video for one of their songs. You’ll hear, Fruitcake and Kaka The Cat from their LP, Nature Of Things. Another one from my archives is next, we go back to 2005 to enjoy Le Volume Courbe with I Killed My Best Friend, this is French-born, London-based singer-producer, Charlotte Marionneau, AKA Charlotte Courbe. She released a new album last year, 14 Years on Honest Jon’s Records. I really do wish my voice hadn’t given out, I wanted to talk up Emperor Of Ice Cream. What a great name! John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass), and Colum Young (drums) are out of Cork, Ireland, these lads prove they know how to construct and perform a good solid pop/rock song on It’s Alright To Show Yourself. Their debut album, No Sound Ever Dies is certainly worth investigating. From the beautiful Emerald Isle, we dash on over to London where Surya a talented fellow says in a message to me, “I am an independent artist from London and I wanted to share with you a track I’ve just released called U Me We. This track means a lot to me as it talks about my upbringing in Chennai, relocation to London, and taking baby steps towards building a legacy”. Surya, thank you for sharing your music. Beautifully crafted. Dare I say, you seemed to have managed to cross that divide that London-based female artists have had a hold on for a while now. I wanna give a namecheck here, but if you listen back to Life Elsewhere Music shows, you’ll pick up the reference. Good work! Tashaki Miyaki says, “We are a Los Angeles-based rock band and we are happy you’re here”. I’m happy we found Gone. Their album, Castaway comes out in April. So well produced is this one. I wanna hear this in rotation on lots of radio stations, everywhere. Sympathetic Magic is the 5th studio album from Portland, Oregon-based Typhoon. I selected Room Within The Room because it touched me. Then again, many of the songs here captured my attention. All the songs were written by Kyle Morton, he is ably assisted by Toby Tanabe, Dave Hall, Pieter Hilton, Alex Fitch, Tyler Ferrin, Devin Gallagher, Shannon Steele. Quality. With Florian Schäffer on acoustic drums, e-drumpads, spring drum; Ismail Özgentürk on kalimba; Henning Rice on Minimoog, prophet 08 you have, The Von Duesz with Diesel from the 2012 LP, Garant. Splendid music. Play loud. Taking us to the close of this volume a cut that has not dated, it also showcases such a stellar line-up it’s almost illegal not to include it occasionally in a playlist. Released in September 1974, I Can Feel The Fire was the first cut on Ronnie Wood’s solo album, I’ve Got My Own Album To Do. Recorded at The Wick Ronnie’s then home in Richmond, (now owned by Pete Townsend I believe) with my dear departed art school friend, Ian McLagan on organ, Willie Weeks on bass, Andy Newmark on drums, Ross Henderson & Sterling on steel drums, Keith Richards on guitar and vocals, percussion, Mick Jagger on vocals and Ronnie on lead vocals, guitar, percussion, David Bowie is also said to be on the track. What a marvelous song! Sing along and wiggle yer bum around to this gem.

Do let me know what you think of this volume. Hopefully, my voice will be in better shape for the next volume of Life Elsewhere Music.

LEM Vol 218 Playlist

  1. Moosefrog – Sixshooter
  2. Charlie Nieland – Divisions
  3. Oui Plastique – Failure
  4. Black Needle Noise with Helena Mamich – Nocturnal
  5. Benjamin Biolay – Little Darlin’
  6. Subsonic Eye – Fruitcake
  7. Subsonic Eye – Kaka The Cat
  8. Le Volume Courbe – I Killed My Best Friend
  9. Emperor Of Ice Cream – It’s Alright To Show Yourself
  10. Surya – U Me We
  11. Tashaki Miyaki – Gone
  12. Typhoon – Room Within The Room
  13. The Von Duesz – Diesel
  14. Ron Wood – I Can Feel The Fire

The artwork for this volume: David Larkin “Then Again” 2007 6′ x 6′ (detail) acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 218