Life Elsewhere Music Vol 315

Here we go, another 60 minutes of new releases for your listening pleasure. While the headline news insists our loathsome enemy, China is filling the skies with ginormous spy balloons, over in the capital city of Beijing, there is a vibrant new music scene. 

Mimik Banka – The People, The People, And The Dogs

With The People, The People, And The Dogs, Mimik Banka takes us on a musical journey that weaves in and out of genres. Beautifully executed with tropical percussion, curious synth signatures, and spoken words that include something about “showing your bottom”. The album, Dog Days is certainly worth exploring and should prompt you to search out more new music from China. 

Ishmael Ensemble & Rider Shafique – Reasons

Over in the always creative hub of Bristol in the west of England, we find the terrific music collective, Ishmael Ensemble led by saxophonist & producer Pete Cunningham. For this outing, poet, MC, and lyricist Rider Shafique joins in to give us, Reasons from the mesmerizing New Era album. 

Crooks & Nannies – No Fun

Damn! I love this one. Out of Philadelphia, Sam Huntington, and Max Rafter present as, Crooks & Nannies. No Fun is from their masterful LP of the same name. In their promo material, they say Sam and Max make rock ’n’ roll – which is a splendid thing. They also say, they write, produce, and perform the songs and give a name check for additional help from Mark Watter, Heather Jones, and Jacob Blizard. I’m very impressed with Crooks & Nannies.

Leaving Lost – In The Other Room/Under The Stars And Sky

Now here is another one that caught my attention on the first listen, “You are more than I deserve in this fucked up world” says Jaq Dunham who is Leaving Lost. Out of Fitchburg, Massachusettes, Jaq tells us they make DIY pop, post-rock, and general weirdness, queerness, feelings, and guitar pedals. Two songs in one here were smartly created together. There is the distant ghost of…it doesn’t matter. Jaq makes me catch my breath on each listen. 

The God In Hackney – Heaven & Black Water

On Junior Asprin Records, (which I think is a jolly good name), The God In Hackney is on this occasion, Andy Cooke, Eve Essex, Dan Fox, Ashley Marlowe, Nathaniel Mellors, and Kelly Pratt. And it sounds as if they like to move around a lot, ‘cause the recordings took place in Brighton, Chapel Hill, Düsseldorf, Los Angeles, New York City, and Oldham. The LP is titled, The World In Air Quotes, one to look out for.

Nick Deane – Look At My Skin

Formerly known as Bobby Blackbird and 1 of the 5 members of Equiknoxx, Nick Deane out of St. Ann Parish in Jamaica gives us Look At My Skin. His EP is titled Ilė Ife, the translation from Yoruba that means, House Of Love. A distinctive hybrid of Reggae and Afro rhythms going on here. Play loud, very loud.

Pickle Darling – King Of Joy

Even if you were not intrigued by his music (which I am), you got to give credit to Lukas Mayo for using the moniker, Pickle Darling. Lukas is out of Christchurch, New Zealand, he writes, produces, and engineers his releases. Check the last two lines in King Of Joy, “And I can do anything as long as it’s in the plan, I wish you had a friendlier face, then I could take your complaints”. Marvelous, and this record from Pickle Darling is on the always superb Father/Daughter Records.

Pale Heap – Like Rain

Left is such a good album, with outstanding songwriting on every cut. You can play this one all the way through in one sitting and still want to hear it again. Leah Pape is a singer-songwriter from Long Island, NY, currently living in Berkeley, CA I believe. Oh, rearrange those letters to her name and you get, Pale Heap. Delightful.

Andrea Ward – Visiting Rooms

It may not surprise you to learn that Andrea Ward is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, dancer, choreographer, and filmmaker. The lovely song, Visiting Rooms comes from her album, Ribbons Of Water. Splendid production and a special mention for the percussion by PJ Donahue. Also, take a moment to look at Andrea Ward’s site.

Motifs – Remember A Stranger

From their debut full-length album, Remember A Stranger, the title cut shows why you need to investigate Motifs. Interesting work going on her from this five-piece out of Singapore. Beautifully produced and recorded. Available on Too Good To Be True records out of France.

Deary – Fairground  

Every so often along comes a track that has all the ingredients for a sublime record. No hesitation about this one, I think it’s marvelous.  Deary is singer and guitarist Dottie with instrumentalist, Ben. They got together during the lockdown and bonded over a mutual love of Elizabeth Fraser, among other things. “We started off by sharing ideas and influences over WhatsApp” explains Ben, “That led to us writing together and we eventually met up a few months later. We have been working ever since, building up a beautiful friendship in the process”. Dottie adds, “As a kid, I found fairgrounds incredibly overwhelming, an entanglement of anxiety and perplexity, this is how London feels to me now. The excitement of the lights and the noise can sometimes leave you pondering the meaning of it all. I am constantly astounded by the vibrancy, community, and creativity that surrounds me every day. At the same time, the corruption in our society is inescapable.” Fairground is Deary’s debut single, I’m looking forward to more from Dottie and Ben.

The Mystery Plan – What A Day (disco mix)

Now here is a glorious piece of music that would have been perfect for the movie Saturday Night Fever instead of that awkward nonsense from The Bee Gees. The fact is, back in the day disco music was brilliant and totally cool. Because of contractual obligations and the producer behind the movie, the perfect lovely Gibb brothers were roped in to come up with a series of unforgivable dross that middle America came to understand as disco music. It couldn’t have been further from the real thing. Here we have a fine collection of folks from Charlotte North Carolina making completely modern music that could easily have been the soundtrack to SNF. What A Day (disco mix) from The Mystery Plan, a satisfyingly good track is the first single from their album, Haunted Organic Machines. We continue to the closing credits with Steve Howerton & Coflo Remix of What A Day.

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Artwork by Kevin Moderna “Palm tree shadow” 2000 36″ x 30″ Treated digital print on PVC panel. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection