Life Elsewhere Music Vol 312

First up, a couple of very big names in this volume. We usually stay away from the more obvious names but there are always exceptions. Tracy Thorn and Ben Watt also known together as Everything But the Girl are back with their first recording in 24 years. And, a gentleman who never fails to add a little more debate about his intentions has a new single, yes, it’s Mr. John Lydon in his guise as Public Image Limited with a Love Song!

Nightrax – Trace

This is the project of UK-based musician and artist Domonic Deane, guest vocals on Trace are by Jana Sotzko. Competent work here, I like all the cuts. There is a cool video for the lead track, Touch The Void. The Nightrax EP is courtesy of Black Arrow Communications. Do not overlook!

Nicolini – Sopratutto

Nic Mauskovic wrote, performed & recorded all the music. The producer, multi-instrumentalist, and seasoned drummer can also be found as Nicola and Mauskovic Dance Band. This cut features Madba (on vocals?) with words c/o Fizzy Veins, apparently. My Italian friend, Gianni says Sopratutto translates to “Above all”. Although he didn’t seem very certain about that. The Sopratutto EP comes via South of North label out of Amsterdam. (Apologies for making a dog’s dinner out of my pronunciation).

Big Joanie – Sainted

Over the past couple of years, I’ve mentioned you should keep a watchful eye on Big Joanie. Three talented, vibrant musicians from London, guitarist Stephanie Phillips, bassist Estella Adeyeri, and drummer Chardine Taylor-Stone. They proudly call themselves a Black feminist punk band, their new album is titled Back Home, references a search for a place to call home, whether real or metaphysical. “We were really ruminating on the idea of a home and what it means,” explains Stephanie. “It’s about the different ideas of home, whether that’s here in the UK, back in Africa or the Caribbean, or a place that doesn’t really exist; it’s neither here nor there.” You need to know Big Joanie has a North American tour coming up this year. Do not miss them if they play anywhere reasonably near you.

Gramercy Arms – Yesterday’s Girl

There is something so familiar about this song, it has that, “Where have I heard this before?” sound. And, that’s a good thing. It’s not often a band can deliver a seemingly recognizable song without dipping into parody. Yesterday’s Girl was co-written by Gramercy Arms frontman Dave Derby and music legend Lloyd Cole and originally penned for Darlene Love’s solo album Introducing Darlene Love. Derby duets with Renée Lo Bue, together with the band the result is a super radio-friendly tune. Looking forward to hearing more from Gramercy Arms.

My Raining Stars – Grateful For Another Day

Over in France, with Thierry Haliniak on vocals, rhythmic acoustic guitars, keyboards, Ben Baal-Bowdle on bass, lead guitars, loop acoustic guitars, and on drums, Casper Bond make up My Raining Stars making excellent indie pop. Haliniak’s voice had me doing a little “sounds like” for a moment. And, as I try to say in my garbled commentary, the synth pad could be a little disconcerting, but somehow they pull it off.

Black Market Karma – Wonky (with The Underground Youth)

You may think the ghost of Reg Presley of The Troggs fame is being summoned as Wonky begins. It turns out that Wild Thing is not. But, I’m sure Stanley Belton the face and songwriter for Black Market Karma won’t mind the reference, after all, he does a stellar job with the music he is currently making with international collaborations rooted in friendship and spontaneity. The new album, Friends In Noise is available via Flower Power Records an imprint I’m fond of.

Everything But The Girl – Nothing Left To Lose

Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt are back together again with their eagerly awaited new single. In some regards a distinctive EBTG sound, yet certainly very 2023. No doubt, numerous versions and remixes of Nothing Left To Lose will arrive, although the first thump of this single, Ms. Thorn’s voice in fine form, and Mr. Watt’s clever-but minimalist production is already a hit in my opinion. Do make sure you treat yourself to a screening of the extraordinary accompanying video, directed by Charlie Di Placido. Shot in one long amazing take, with choreography by Miranda Chambers, and incredible performances from Honey and Ken, Stefano, Naomi, and Jakub. They all deserve a namecheck. Brilliant!

Mystic State & Third Degree – My Only Pt. 1 & 11

Staying on the dance floor we head to Bristol for a splendid compilation, Connections Vol 2 courtesy of the very fine, The Chikara Project. A lot of tasty cuts to select from here, we chose, Mystic State & Third Degree with My Only Pt. 1 & 11. A masterful production that roams through ambient, drum and bass, and dubstep in one delicious track, with a delicate piano fill, numerous spoken word, and vocal samples. Exquisite.

1-800 Girls – 90%

London-based producer and DJ, Jake Stewart proves he has a deft hand at the mixing consul with two cuts under the moniker of 1-800 Girls. On 90% the samples and the programming are perfectly placed. All aspiring producers should listen carefully and try to dissect how Jake manages to twiddle so many knobs at the same time.

Rozi Plain – Complicated

Here is another talent I’ve been keeping a watchful eye on. Rosalind Leydon AKA Rozi Plain with Prize has made a gorgeous, lovely album. Beautifully arranged and produced. Deceptively intricate, full of raw honesty. Oh, and that voice! It was difficult to settle on one cut to share with you. Complicated, is at this moment, my favorite. Available on the excellent Memphis Industries label. A stunner.

Order Of The 12 – Against The Tide

The band says their debut album, Lore Of The Land features music that looks to the South Downs and the Sussex folk tradition for inspiration. An area I know well and can understand what they mean. You are encouraged to visit. Rachel Thomas is on vocals, with Stuart Carter on guitars, and Richard Norris is on keyboards, drums, and production. A satisfying album that deserves to be listened to while ignoring suggested genres.

Public Image Limited – Hawaii

There is no doubt that throughout the years’ John Lydon has deliberately fought the status quo. He could also be classified as a walking contradiction. From John’s choice of clobber to his hairdos to controversial commentaries on everything from rock music to politics. The one area he has stayed relatively quiet on until recently is the failing health of Nora his wife for nearly five decades. With the new single, Hawaii John says is dedicated to his Alzheimers-suffering wife, and to everyone who believes in love. Lydon has suggested this song show be Ireland’s entry to this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. John was born in the UK, but his parents are of Irish heritage. Your feedback on this cut and all the music selected for LEM is always welcome. 

Playlist

  1. Nicolini – Sopratutto
  2. Big Joanie – Sainted
  3. Gramercy Arms – Yesterday’s Girl
  4. My Raining Stars – Grateful For Another Day
  5. Black Market Karma – Wonky (with The Underground Youth)
  6. Everything But The Girl – Nothing Left To Lose
  7. Mystic State & Third Degree – My Only Pt. 1 & 11
  8. 1-800 Girls – 90%
  9. Rozi Plain – Complicated
  10. Order Of The 12 – Against The Tide
  11. PiL – Hawaii

Artwork by Jeff Standing 1950 – 2012 “Cocktail bar #3″ 2001 15″ x 15” Digital print on laminated board. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection