Life Elsewhere Music Vol 240

As I type these notes for Volume 240 of LEM, it is pissing down outside. Torrents of rain have been causing havoc all night and day. Over-the-top thunder and lightning has caused Mr. Grumpy, the orange (ginger?) half-feral cat I feed, to shelter under the chair he usually poses on. I say half-feral ‘cause he just showed up one day about 15 years ago. No collar, no tag, and he wouldn’t allow any petting or human contact. He kept his distance, but he also hung around. Eventually, I gave him a bowl of cat food. He scoffed it down and came back for more. He’s been doing that about three times a day ever since. He still won’t tolerate any stroking or belly rubs. But, he does waft his rangy body around my legs when I present him with another helping of ridiculously expensive cat food. As the years have gone by he has become more and more vocal. These days it’s an indignant ME….OW!! if I don’t serve him food promptly, every time I open the door. We have taken upon a staring game. He always wins. I’m tempted to invite him in, but he never seems interested in crossing the threshold. So, he misses out on hearing all the new music I review. I have no idea if cats have an appreciation of any music, but I like to imagine that if Mr. Grumpy did venture inside, especially on a sodden day like today, he may settle down next to me and quietly digest each cut I play and perhaps give a flick of his tail in approval or dismissal. We begin with an artist I have been keeping my eye on for some time, Tizrah is back with a new album, Colourgrade recorded soon after the birth of her first child and shortly before her second child was born. Tizrah says, “The album explores recovery, gratitude and new beginnings”, adding “I discovered the type of love that is shared between a mother and a child for the first time, whilst simultaneously working as an artist”. Send Me explains all as she croons, “Let me in, now I’m sure”. Watch out for the surprising ending. Then, don’t let the almost cartoon-like Chinoise refrain fool you of Michael Sayer’s Little China Boy fool you. The LA-based musician is writing from experience. I’m familiar with his story. My son’s mother is Asian. He came home from school one day and innocently asked me, “Dad, a kid at school said I’m chinky – what does that mean?”. Michael’s album is A Good Fool, it’s excellent with cool artwork. His video for the single, Little China Boy is worth checking out not least of all for his splendid hair color. Love it. The Vovos are from Melbourne, Australia. The Vovos are Ada Duffy, Bethany Feik, Bianca Ayliffe, Lu Galante, Mika James, and Ruby Ayliffe. Their Jana EP is on Roolette Records. The single is Spring Cleaning. They are magnificent. A three-piece called Soursob is based in Glasgow, originating from Lithuania, Australia, and Glasgow. Blow is from their self-titled LP on HoZac Records out of Chicago who says, “The right kind of music for the wrong kind of people, since 2006”. Oh, what a gloriously good single. But, should I be concerned they are going on about cocaine? I think not, Soursob is being ironic, right? Girl Friday, a duo by way of New Zealand and LA knows how to write an engaging pop song as illustrated by I’m Impossible. Thos F sings songs and makes noises as Trees And Flowers and I enjoyed everything about their LP, Are You Broken? Take Cover and all the other songs here are by Seattle-based Thos F helped out on each cut by a collective of friends it would appear. The album is on Pelagoram Recordings and thumbs-ups for the striking artwork. Deep Sea Fish is from the album, Tangerine by Reiko and Tori Kudo. Recorded during winter and spring of 2011 and 2012 and just rereleased. Tangerine, they say is the culmination of over thirty years of experimentation, making this a touchstone of contemporary Japanese folk minimalism. Inspired by thick forests and nature of Lithuania, also by Baltic ethnic culture, Giriu Dvasios gives us Sanku from the LP, Dub Vibes Vol. 4. This is one you can put on and ask your dinner guests to select the country of origin – extra dessert for anyone who gets the answer right. Blackjack Illuminist Records is operated by a genial chap named, Alex. When he is not teaching elementary kids or running marathons, Alex dedicates himself to putting out exceptional releases. His latest, Ready To Drown is by Cologne-based duo, Adnan Abbas & Nadin who present as Verneblung. The video for Cracked Puppet is required viewing, featuring a beautiful solo male dancer whose body and movements are like a living anatomy lesson. Some while back a conversation I had with Colin Moulding, the legendary bassist for XTC has been downloaded scores of times. A new conversation is being arranged because Colin has a new solo single, The Hardest Battle.  I think you’ll agree, this has that distinctive, XTC/Moulding sound and we like that. London- based singer-producer, Satu says, Play The Game from their Technicolor Wreckage EP. Listen to this one carefully, so much going on and that voice – so good. Love the production! Make sure you check out the rest of Satu’s releases. The Ophelias are out of Cincinnati, their 3rd album Crocus deserves your attention. Take a listen to the cut we selected, Neil Young On High featuring Julian Baker. The Ophelias have been on my radar for some time as I regularly prompt adventurous PD’s to include them in their playlists. It goes without saying that when a new Benin City single arrives you know dancing is going to be the first priority at Life Elsewhere Towers. Josh, Shanaz, and Tom have produced a beauty with We Belong To Us. Not only is this a Pride anthem, but it’s also our summer anthem. Always right on the money is Benin City with their social and cultural observations and commentary, so much going on in this mix, that juxtaposition between Shanaz’s vocals and Josh’s voice, Tom is in there too, plus Tom on sax adds a brilliant touch to masterful recording. Mr. Grumpy gave me a threatening stare as I cranked up the volume to way past 11. He demanded more food, but I had Benin City on repeat play and signaled through the glass door for him to shelter from the rain and be patient. Enjoy!

Playlist

  1. Tizrah – Send Me
  2. Michael Seyer – Little China Boy
  3. The Vovos – Spring Cleaning
  4. Soursob – Blow
  5. Girl Friday – I’m Impossible
  6. Trees And Flowers – Take Cover
  7. Reiko and Tori Kudo – Deep Sea Fish
  8. Giriu Dvasios – Sunku
  9. Verneblung – Cracked Puppet
  10. Colin Moulding – The Hardest Battle
  11. Satu – Play The GameThe
  12. Ophelias – Neil Young On High (Ft. Julian Baker)
  13. Benin City – We Belong To Us

Artwork by Stephen Brownwell “Sex headline” 24″ x 26″ 2011 mixed media on craft paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 240