We are going to have to face the honest fact that as every day passes we can be sure the passing of another rock legend will be announced. It’s all about age, those glorious days of early rock and roll are history now, the stars are fading. Drugs and hard living are no longer the concern, it’s age. When your rock heroes are in their 70s, age is not just a number anymore. We pay tribute to Wilko Johnson, later in the show.
To begin, Black Market Karma features one of the more distinctive voices in today’s music, the exceptional, Tess Parks with The Sky Was All Diseased. This cut is from the forthcoming album, Friends In Noise, Stanley Belton AKA Black Market Karma connected with Tess some years back, then they finally got together to work on this cut, available on Flower Power records. Make sure you listen to my conversation with Tess Parks from earlier this year. | Over in South West London you’ll find three childhood friends, Caitlin Whitley (lead vocals and guitar); William Nicola-Thompson (lead guitar); and Joel Martin (backing vocals and bass) who present as Slaney Bay. Take Your Time is from their A Life Worth Living LP. Fine competent work here. | Producer Talik has an outstanding double-sided single featuring The Slopes on Home. On the flip, she gives us Kundalini an intense instrumental. Highly recommended as is the label Intercept out of The Netherlands. I suggest you check out their catalog and tell them I sent you. | Just outside of Berlin you’ll find the unrelentingly busy, Alex Donat who has just donned his Vlimmer persona for the exciting new album, Menschenleere. We selected the title cut which translates to “Free of Humans”. Here, once again Alex proves that his one-man project, Vlimmer should not be overlooked, plus you’d be smart to check out the rest of his output for Blackjack Illuminist Records. You should also note that the seemingly crazy Alex, is also a school teacher, marathon runner and recently he has been creating cryptic short-form videos starring himself in all manner of situations. | Next, The Pull of Autumn with Japanese dream pop outfit Once Grace Forever with Live Today a preview of the forthcoming album, Beautiful Broken World. This is an ambitious 15-track undertaking that began in early 2020 and involves a number of iconic artists, including Philip Parfitt of Perfect Disaster, and Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants amongst others. Impressive work here. | John Peter Wilkinson was aged 75 when he died just a few days ago. Known to the world as Wilko Johnson, his finger-picking style of guitar playing was as influential as his manic, almost threatening demeanor on stage. His thousand-yard stare has to have been an inspiration to a young John Lydon amongst so many other wannabes. Wilko’s glowering and jerky body movements onstage persona undermined a nice ordinary bloke off stage. Lots will be written about Wilko Johnson and how important he was in the history of British music. He certainly was one-of-a-kind. Picking a favorite cut for me was easy, from the Dr. Feelgood album, Down By The Jetty it’sWilko Johnson on lead vocal and guitar doing an intriguing take on John Lee Hooker’s Boom Boom. Rest In Peace, Wilko.| With Grace Jones helping out on a track, you know it’s got to be good – no, make that brilliant! Dave Okumu gives us, 7 Generations with Ms. Jones, Wesley Joseph & Eska from the album, I Come From Love. This a body of work presented in chapters, You Survived So I Might Live; The Intolerable Suffering Of (The) Other; Seduced By Babylon; and Cave Of Origins. Quite simply, fabulous! | Out of wonderful Perth in Western Australia comes Smiling In Slow Motion by Mike Midnight from his Angel Hours LP. Quality production, perfect for the after-hours dance floor. Trip-hop at its best. And talking of that genre, one of the originators of Trip-hop, co-founder of Thievery Corporation, Eric Hilton delivers, Put Em’ Down from his new LP, Present, Past, And Future. Masterful. | On the Moonshine imprint out of Kingston, Jamaica we find, Dubbing Sun, Blue Hill, and Warrior Queen, and their take on Armageddon. A long way from Willie Williams’s classic Armageddon Time, but all the same, a nice workout over four tracks with the dubs being essential listening. | Take a careful listen to the next two cuts from Brooklyn-based Pearla, this is the work of Nicole Rodriguez who takes old-time codas and combines imaginative new inspirations to create a distinctive style that has me raving. She has a deft hand with words including the title of her album, Oh, Glistening Onion, The Nighttime Is Coming. You’ll hear, The Place With No Weather and With. Pearla’s debut is on Spacebomb records and comes out on Feb 10. Top artwork too. So good! | Taking us up to the close, we go to Brazil to enjoy the music of Grisa, also known as Giovana Ribeiro. Lowlife is from her Wet Matchbox EP, four short but fascinating works. About the EP, Giovana says, “I recorded the melodies whispering on my phone because everyone was sleeping on the bus, and I didn’t want to wake them. The title of the EP Wet Matchbox is because all the songs have phrases that refer to fire. And she adds, one may think the cover art is a photo but it actually is an oil painting by artist Gabriela Korr”. It really is stunning. As is Grisa’s music. Make sure you let me know what you think of this volume. All the best.
- Black Market Karma – The Sky Was All Diseased (with Tess Parks)
- Slaney Bay – Take Your Time
- Talik – Home (ft. The Slopes)
- Vlimmer – Menschenleere
- The Pull Of Autumn – Live Today (ft. Once Grace Forever)
- Dr. Feelgood – Boom Boom
- Dave Okumu – 7 Generations (ft. Grace Jones, Wesley Joseph & Eska
- Mike Midnight – Smiling In Slow Motion
- Eric Hilton – Put Em’ Down
- Dubbing Sun, Blue Hill, Warrior Queen – Armageddon
- Pearla – The Place With No Weather
- Pearla – With
- Grisa – Lowlife
Artwork by Mr. B “Self-portrait out of focus #4 2009 12″ x 12” giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection