Life Elsewhere Music Vol 260

When you rave about a band and try to encourage all and sundry to join in with your enthusiasm, it’s gratifying to learn that at last, that band is getting the attention they deserve. I’m talking about King Hannah, their debut LP is out in February and already they are receiving accolades. More about Hannah and Craig later. To begin volume 260 we travel to Wuppertal, Germany to hear Dead On The Inside by Casino Garden from their LP, Oliver Oliver. They were founded in 2017 by singer and guitarist Matthias Wiercinski, keyboardist Helene Ballke, bassist Oliver Kroker, and drummer Alexander Alaimo Di Loro. You know this album has to be worth a serious listen because it’s on the very smart, Shoredive Records imprint. Another label and management outfit that never disappoints is Mammal Sounds out of Sydney who bring us, Clovo a new project via Australia’s Gold Coast. This is Chloe Magee with her debut single Girls, which she says was written on International Women’s Day (March 8th) and is an anthem for all women who stand against sexual assault and discrimination (something that not just women should be doing of course). Clovo directed a captivating for Girls and says, “The music video portrays the toxicity of a male-dominated culture, set in a dystopian parallel universe where women are subjects to men, the video narrates Clovo as a prisoner trying to escape, only to be caught and put back in her ‘place’ in society.” Next is a charming cut from José González out of Sweden with the title cut from his album, Local Valley. Make sure you listen to the whole album and admire the cool artwork. Originally from Scotland, Olivia Rafferty is now based in London where she has produced her excellent Hurricane EP. The title track is almost unassuming yet Olivia’s beautiful voice and arrangement deliver a powerful forlorn love song, “You don’t remember anything” she gently admonishes. Impressive. Neither Is, Nor Ever Was is the debut album by Constant Follower, and what a gem this is. Stephen McAll says this was written after ten years of isolation on the west coast of Scotland, following a violent attack by a gang in Glasgow. And, in adolescence, McAll suffered a very serious head injury, was temporarily semi-paralyzed, and lost his long-term memory. While in isolation, he had to, with patience and a lot of calm, start over, write on the blank slate of his memories, learn again to compose music, and play the guitar. Stephen goes on to say, Neither Is, Nor Ever Was is the culmination of a slow and tiring healing journey and every single note is a testament to that painful process”. The album was co-produced by Shimmy-Disc founder Kramer. The Merry Dancers On TV is a perfect example of exquisite production, superb songwriting, and masterful performance. American singer Juliette Rapp and British singer-songwriter Chris Marks (also known as Lake Michigan) met in Rome at an unlikely time, just before the global pandemic brought the world to its knees and stopped time. During the long lockdown, the two found themselves staring out the window at the empty streets, the idea for Permanent Vacation was born. Now based in Mexico City, the duo suggests their LP, Hymns From The Backseat is in many ways the concept album for your twenties. Trying and failing at love, enduring the pressure of getting our shit together, getting older, and just trying to make sense of it all. Reading into things, looking for meaning in everything. I love what they are doing so much, you’ll hear two songs from Permanent Vacation, Strange Pets, and the title cut, Hymns From The Backseat. Take note, the LP is available on the excellent, Z Tapes. From Ireland comes the exceptionally talented Keeley, who is back with a new EP, Echo Everywhere. On Dimple Discs. I admit to being very fond of this artist not least of all because I like her music but also because she is a terrific conversationalist. To A London Sunrise caught my attention from her new EP. On the cover of Pili Coït’s new LP, Love Everywhere, Jessica Martin Maresco appears to be raising her shirt to display her breasts to the world. It’s a beautiful bold statement, in keeping with the music she makes with Guilhem Meier. The Lyon-based duo will have you moving along to Endless Make Love Everywhere. The constantly energetic Alex of Blackjack Illuminist Records fame sent us his latest outing as Fir Cone Children, featuring Krissy Vanderwoude on Knees In The Sand. This rousing cut demonstrates the attention to detail Alex invests in everything he does. The Blackjack Illuminist is a treasure trove of delights you need to explore. Here is a sad story, a couple of volumes back I raved on about I Can’t Bike by Pictoria Vark. This is so good I said. And it is. Since then, I have been following Victoria Park on Twitter because her tweets are often funny, observational, and always honest. Then the other day, I read that Victoria (AKA Pictoria) had been in a car accident in Chicago. This was her second accident in recent weeks. Worse still Victoria collided with a cop, while she was driving a rental car, the damage and trauma from the collision resulted in abandoning the tour she was on and a lot of out-of-pocket expenses. Victoria says, “I’m physically okay but am having a tough time. struggling to process it after the last one I was in and as a “touring musician” who can’t even do that right”. Why don’t you send a few words of encouragement to Victoria? To remind you why I think Pictoria Vark is so important, take a listen to I Can’t Bike. Before she abandoned her tour, Pictoria Vark asked on Twitter if there were any headlining bands she could open for if they were going on tour. I suggested Pictoria Vark would be perfect to open for King Hannah if they were setting off on a tour of the US of A. That may not be so far off if the recent media attention Hannah and Craig are getting is anything to go by. Their debut album, I’m Not Sorry, I Was Just Being Me does not come out until February next year, but there is a definite buzz about this exceptional band. We were lucky enough to spot them some while back and captured a refreshingly honest conversation with the pair from Liverpool. All Being Fine is from King Hannah’s album. We love it! Well done, Hannah and Craig, we look forward to your much-deserved success in 2022. 

Playlist

  1. Casino Garden – Dead On The Inside
  2. Clovo – Girls
  3. José González – Valle Local
  4. Olivia Rafferty – Hurricane
  5. Constant Follower – The Merry Dancers On TV
  6. Permanent Vacation – Strange Pets
  7. Permanent Vacation – Hymns From The Backseat
  8. Keeley – To A London Sunrise
  9. Pili Coït – Endless Make Love Everywhere
  10. Fir Cone Children – Knees In The Sand (ft. Krissy Vanderwoude
  11. Pictoria Vark – I Can’t Bike
  12. King Hannah – All Being Fine

Artwork by Patricia Burrell 1951 – 2002 “Flower study #43” 1983 giclée print on archival paper 20” x 23” Courtesy of Norman B’s collection