Life Elsewhere Music Vol 232

Here we are, May already, and more and more very cool new releases keep coming my way. It really does seem that this strange period of self-distancing has resulted in such a wonderful array of competent new music. We begin Volume 232 with a chap from New Zealand who goes by the name of Lontallus. You’ll hear, Someone Will Be There For You, the title cut from his latest LP. Lontallus says he spent some in LA before returning to Auckland in March 2020, then he almost immediately went into lockdown in his new home, emerging two months later with a new collection of songs. Nice work. Paola Bennet is next with In This Body from her forthcoming EP, Maybe The Light. Paola, originally from Boston is now based in Brooklyn. On her Twitter page, she mentions she is a musician, wordsmith, and hermit. An old-timey word that’s difficult to equate with Paola’s definitely 2021 music and image. Csaba Laszlo goes by the name, Caz. He also records under the moniker of Hotel Decor, which for some reason makes me think of New Romantic bands of the early 90s. Mr. Laszlo doesn’t sound like he is aspiring to bring back shades of Visage with Could It Take Me Any Longer, although the London-based artist looks like he sports a fetching top-knot hair-doo and penchant for colorful clothes. All good attributes. Importantly, we like his music. Now here is a little story to go along with the next cut. As I was reviewing the album, Infant Joy On Midnight Streets from Primitive Ignorant, the guy who comes by every few months to check on the fire alarms and sprinklers in my building just happened to be hovering nearby. “What do you call that then?” He asked quizzically, nodding toward my speakers as Scream On The Razor featuring Bess Cavendish was blasting out. It’s a question I’m often asked by people who need to put a label on everything. Now, I didn’t want to presume that Mr. Fire Extinguisher-man would be confused if I blurted out, “Oh, it’s a mixture of dark, industrial, bass-heavy pop”. But, I had a definite idea he would have given me a shifty look and hi-tail out of the way as fast as he could. Instead, I answered, “What name would you give this music?” From his expression, I was expecting the equivalent of, “A load of old bollocks!” Instead, he gave me a knowing look and said, “I dunno what to call it… but I like it! I would work out to this at the gym!” I nodded in agreement. I like it too, I said. “Yeah, but what do you call it?” He snapped back at me. “Work out music?” I replied. “Yeah!” He said, “I like that!” I did think about asking Mr. Fire Extinguisher-man if he wanted to hang around and give me his opinion on the rest of the music I had stacked up ready to listen to. Of course, as I repeatedly grumble on about labels and genres, I decided that might not be such a good idea. (Psst, Primitive Ignorant make music I love!). Meanwhile, UK producer, Lewi B is next with Sensei from the excellent Ice EP. Lewis Birtles is Lewi B and uses the moniker, The Young Grime Warlord. If you are still not sure about Grime, give this EP a test drive. London-based, Dom Search and Brad Baloo are The Nextmen, UK top-rated DJs and producers, they have around since the early 90s (if my memory serves me well) with a trail of mixes, albums, and podcasts encompassing club music from many genres, all steeped in a large dose of Hip Hop. For Afterglow Dub and Rudegyal Eva Lazurus takes over the mic in fine style. Argue with if you dare, but I think you’ll agree these are two essential cuts. Northampton, Massachusetts is the hometown of Chloe Deeley, who for her solo debut she goes by Sailor Down. Her 6 track EP is called, Skip The Line, the title track is proof of her competent talent. The 26-year-old splits her artistic output as a prolific illustrator as wells as a musician. Quite often on LEM, I give a big tip of the hat to the remarkable talent emerging from a wonderful inspiring city, Toronto. Packs are four-piece that call the Canadian city home. Initially, this was the solo songwriting project of Madeline Link, now joined by Shane Hooper on drums, Noah O’Neil on bass, and Dexter Nash plays lead guitar. I do like the laissez-faire quality of Madeline’s voice. Over in Scotland Lily Higham and Gordon Johnstone present as Post Coal Prom Queen which leads me to wonder if they argued over that name. Their EP, PCPQ demonstrates this couple knows how to make listenable music with Lily’s fragile voice and Gordon’s subtle but confident production. Tomorrow’s Garden should encourage you to check out more from Post Coal Prom Queen. Plus, cool artwork, too. On their Twitter page, Spotlight Kid informs us “They are an English band who make reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order, with layered harmonies & swirling distorted guitars”. No reason to disagree with that, although I would add they like a bit of effect on the vocals. Minor Character from their WHRN EP has a bridge where you think it’s all over, then they carry on with more “reverb-soaked noise”. Excellent. Play loud. Palms from Sydney, Australia begin Too High with a familiar-sounding rock riff, complete with a yelp, signaling what you are in for. “Pals making a racket,” they say and a fine racket it is. Nothing complicated or clever about their EP, Intensity Sunshine, and a big thumbs up for that. The splendid artwork by Angela Garrick deserves your attention. The closing cut on this volume is a well-crafted electronica track from Phantom Ship out of Minneapolis. Swing is from the Summer EP, produced and Mixed by Scott Gusts who writes, “The release is a bit of a love letter to the Casio CZ-101 synthesizer. Close your eyes and bask in the sun-kissed glow”. Minimal techno/electronica is not so easy to accomplish, Scott Gusts has it down. Thank you for listening, make sure you send me your thoughts, opinions or just say hello.

Playlist

  • Lontallus – Someone Will Be There For You
  • Paola Bennet – In This Body
  • Hotel Decor – Could It Take Me Any Longer
  • Primitive Ignorant – Scream On The Razor (ft. Bess Cavendish)
  • Lewi B – Sensei 
  • The Nextmen X Eva Lazurus – Afterglow Dub
  • The Nextmen X Eva Lazurus – Rudegyal
  • Sailor Down – Skip The Line
  • Packs – Two Hands
  • Packs – Hangman
  • Post Coal Prom Queen – Tomorrow’s Garden
  • Spotlight Kid – Minor Character (original demo)
  • Palms – Too High
  • Phantom Ship – Swing

Artwork by Bobby Sedgewick “Sanctus Morte” 1997 5’ x 4’6” acrylic on canvas. From the collection of Norman B