Author Archives: normanbradio

The Encore Edition – Life Elsewhere Music Vol 233

This volume of Life Elsewhere Music was prompted by an email from a listener named Candice who wrote, “Mr. B. thank you for Life Elsewhere Music, I love that you play a wide variety of new music. I think it would be interesting if you did an encore show of some of your favorite standout songs from the past few months. I know you say complimentary things about all the music you curate, but how about giving us an encore show of Mr. B’s picks, songs you think deserve wider attention?” A splendid suggestion from Candice. Of course, she is correct, I only play music I consider for inclusion in the show and yes, I’m a fan. So, in turn, that makes selecting standouts really difficult. For this volume, all the music included should be getting wider attention, in my opinion. It’s the Encore Edition. We begin with Porridge Radio, their visual appeal is up there with the band’s musical abilities. When I first played Sweet from their LP, Every Bad I added to my commentary, “I tracked down a super cool video”. Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh intrigued me so much, I invited them onto the show to talk about their music as fine. I was delighted to discover they exude an honesty that is not only refreshing but also perfectly natural. The duo creates seemingly uncomplicated, yet sophisticated, powerful music. Indulge in I Sleep So Much Better Now. If you don’t have Phil Parfitt’s sublime Mental Home Recordings in your collection by now, then I can only hope you take careful notice of Are We Really Still The Same selected for this Encore edition. Mr. Parfitt bravely exposes himself with oh, so wonderful songwriting. Very few musicians can go where Phil goes without sounding so sorry for themselves. Even if Denise Sherwood did not have the pedigree of being the daughter of legendary mixmaster and producer, Adrian Sherwood, I have no doubt we would still have heard from her. She takes the reggae and dub atmosphere she grew up surrounded by to reveal polished songwriting and performing talent as displayed with Uncertain Times from her debut LP, This Road. I have to admit the sleeve for Strange Ritual by German band, Lambs & Wolves caught my attention first. Then, on listening, I loved the way they put the song together and discovered the song was recorded in summer 2020 by Julian Tröndle (vocals, piano), Louis Groß (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, drums, percussion) & Stefan Bercher (acoustic guitar, backing vocals) with Benedikt Weiger (double bass). The work of Dublin-based experimental singer-songwriter Miriam Ingram was first suggested to me by another Irish musician who is related to a mutual friend, but that’s a long story – Miriam’s A Tiny White Dot evokes a poignant observation on the end of the world as she watches the tiny white dot slowly vanish on her TV screen. Oh, and her voice and production had me putting this one on repeat play. Ms. Ingram sent me a message saying she was enamored with Eel Drip from Penelope Trappes. Perfect, so am I. The video Penelope put together for Eel Drip is a must-see. The London-based artist has Penelope Three out on May 28th. We have already played the cut on LEM 225 and advised you to check it out. Next up, Mourn! I’m tempted to write many paragraphs raving on about this extraordinary outfit from Barcelona, Spain. They first came to my attention a couple of years back when they were exceptionally young, they still are and This Feeling Is Disgusting is quite simply essential listening. Wouldn’t it be glorious to see them live? More music from Dublin, where there must be something in the water, ‘cause the non-stop releases of essential music is brilliant. Pillow Queens with A Dog’s Life doesn’t mess around, the queer four-piece tells about the housing crisis in Ireland with energy and rawness that grabs you in. Yes, you need their album, In Waiting. Léanie Kaleido describes herself as a “pint-sized purveyor of piano pop and lyrical loveliness”. No reason to argue with that. As it happens All The Things I’m Made Of is a nice slice of piano pop. I’ve been following the work of Nuha Ruby Ra for a while now. With each release, the East Londoner tells us to know to keep a careful watch on her, Erase Me is no exception. Chatting to Hannah and Olly of Pela you soon realize these two exceptional talents take their music seriously. Their careful attention to detail comes across in the superb productions, like In The Young. Pela should be in rotation on any station that purports to play new music. Selecting a best of single could be difficult (or unfair) until Crème Brûlée by King Hannah came along. It is, of course, an unlikely choice for a best single. It’s long, it’s sexy, it has a long wailing guitar solo. In fact, Crème Brûlée defies the rules and regulations for a terrific single. And that is why I love this cut so much. Encore!

  • Porridge Radio – Sweet
  • Fine. – I Sleep So Much Better Now
  • Dogs For Friends – Make It Your Own
  • Phil Parfitt – Are We Really Still The Same
  • Denise Sherwood – Uncertain Times
  • Lambs & Wolves – Strange Ritual
  • Miriam Ingram – A Tiny White Dot
  • Penelope Trappes – Eel Drip
  • Mourn – This Feeling Is Disgusting
  • Pillow Queens – A Dog’s Life
  • Léanie Kaleido – All The Things I’m Made Of
  • Nuha Ruby Ra – Erase Me
  • Pela – In The Young
  • King Hannah – Crème Brûlée
  • Artwork by Mr B “Miss P #32” 2009 giclée 4′ x 4′ print on archival paper . Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

The Unconventional Actor + New Music

 

 

When did you first encounter Jeff Goldblum? Maybe as a deranged killer in his 1974 screen debut in Death Wish? Maybe as a cynical journalist in 1983s The Big Chill? Or a brilliant if egotistical scientist-turned-fly in 1986s The Fly? Perhaps as the wise-cracking skeptical mathematician in 1993s Jurassic Park? Or maybe you’re not a film buff but noticed his face as part of one of the Internet’s earliest memes. Whenever it was, you’ve probably noticed that Goldblum has become one of Hollywood’s most enduring actors, someone who only seems to grow more famous, more heralded, more beloved through the decades, even though he’s always followed his own, strange muse. The guy primarily plays jazz music these days but is more famous than ever. Actor, pianist, husband, father, style icon, meme. Goldblum contains multitudes, but why? What does he mean? The Washington Post’s Travis M. Andrews decided to find out. He talks to Norman B about his adventure discovering Jeff Goldblum and the result, his new book Because He’s Jeff Goldblum. While we are talking about movies we called upon long-time Life Elsewhere contributor, film, and media critic, Bob Ross to give us an update on the state of movies now. The Oscars, or as Mr. Ross prefers, The Academy Awards. Bob also gives his appraisal of Jeff Goldblum. Plus we have new music from Such Small Hands. This is the solo project of Melanie Howard also known as the bassist for The Wedding Present. Brighton-based Melanie has created a stripped and raw version of her debut album, Carousel. She says, “These are live home recordings, completely acoustic. Each song is just my voice and my guitar, recorded down one microphone across two afternoons in March while, while my cat snoozed next to me in my living room”. I want to share two tracks with you, because, well, I think you’ll appreciate what Melanie Howard as Such Small Hands has created with Carousel: Raw Home Recordings

Show 423

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 232

Here we are, May already, and more and more very cool new releases keep coming my way. It really does seem that this strange period of self-distancing has resulted in such a wonderful array of competent new music. We begin Volume 232 with a chap from New Zealand who goes by the name of Lontallus. You’ll hear, Someone Will Be There For You, the title cut from his latest LP. Lontallus says he spent some in LA before returning to Auckland in March 2020, then he almost immediately went into lockdown in his new home, emerging two months later with a new collection of songs. Nice work. Paola Bennet is next with In This Body from her forthcoming EP, Maybe The Light. Paola, originally from Boston is now based in Brooklyn. On her Twitter page, she mentions she is a musician, wordsmith, and hermit. An old-timey word that’s difficult to equate with Paola’s definitely 2021 music and image. Csaba Laszlo goes by the name, Caz. He also records under the moniker of Hotel Decor, which for some reason makes me think of New Romantic bands of the early 90s. Mr. Laszlo doesn’t sound like he is aspiring to bring back shades of Visage with Could It Take Me Any Longer, although the London-based artist looks like he sports a fetching top-knot hair-doo and penchant for colorful clothes. All good attributes. Importantly, we like his music. Now here is a little story to go along with the next cut. As I was reviewing the album, Infant Joy On Midnight Streets from Primitive Ignorant, the guy who comes by every few months to check on the fire alarms and sprinklers in my building just happened to be hovering nearby. “What do you call that then?” He asked quizzically, nodding toward my speakers as Scream On The Razor featuring Bess Cavendish was blasting out. It’s a question I’m often asked by people who need to put a label on everything. Now, I didn’t want to presume that Mr. Fire Extinguisher-man would be confused if I blurted out, “Oh, it’s a mixture of dark, industrial, bass-heavy pop”. But, I had a definite idea he would have given me a shifty look and hi-tail out of the way as fast as he could. Instead, I answered, “What name would you give this music?” From his expression, I was expecting the equivalent of, “A load of old bollocks!” Instead, he gave me a knowing look and said, “I dunno what to call it… but I like it! I would work out to this at the gym!” I nodded in agreement. I like it too, I said. “Yeah, but what do you call it?” He snapped back at me. “Work out music?” I replied. “Yeah!” He said, “I like that!” I did think about asking Mr. Fire Extinguisher-man if he wanted to hang around and give me his opinion on the rest of the music I had stacked up ready to listen to. Of course, as I repeatedly grumble on about labels and genres, I decided that might not be such a good idea. (Psst, Primitive Ignorant make music I love!). Meanwhile, UK producer, Lewi B is next with Sensei from the excellent Ice EP. Lewis Birtles is Lewi B and uses the moniker, The Young Grime Warlord. If you are still not sure about Grime, give this EP a test drive. London-based, Dom Search and Brad Baloo are The Nextmen, UK top-rated DJs and producers, they have around since the early 90s (if my memory serves me well) with a trail of mixes, albums, and podcasts encompassing club music from many genres, all steeped in a large dose of Hip Hop. For Afterglow Dub and Rudegyal Eva Lazurus takes over the mic in fine style. Argue with if you dare, but I think you’ll agree these are two essential cuts. Northampton, Massachusetts is the hometown of Chloe Deeley, who for her solo debut she goes by Sailor Down. Her 6 track EP is called, Skip The Line, the title track is proof of her competent talent. The 26-year-old splits her artistic output as a prolific illustrator as wells as a musician. Quite often on LEM, I give a big tip of the hat to the remarkable talent emerging from a wonderful inspiring city, Toronto. Packs are four-piece that call the Canadian city home. Initially, this was the solo songwriting project of Madeline Link, now joined by Shane Hooper on drums, Noah O’Neil on bass, and Dexter Nash plays lead guitar. I do like the laissez-faire quality of Madeline’s voice. Over in Scotland Lily Higham and Gordon Johnstone present as Post Coal Prom Queen which leads me to wonder if they argued over that name. Their EP, PCPQ demonstrates this couple knows how to make listenable music with Lily’s fragile voice and Gordon’s subtle but confident production. Tomorrow’s Garden should encourage you to check out more from Post Coal Prom Queen. Plus, cool artwork, too. On their Twitter page, Spotlight Kid informs us “They are an English band who make reverb-soaked noise-pop of the finest order, with layered harmonies & swirling distorted guitars”. No reason to disagree with that, although I would add they like a bit of effect on the vocals. Minor Character from their WHRN EP has a bridge where you think it’s all over, then they carry on with more “reverb-soaked noise”. Excellent. Play loud. Palms from Sydney, Australia begin Too High with a familiar-sounding rock riff, complete with a yelp, signaling what you are in for. “Pals making a racket,” they say and a fine racket it is. Nothing complicated or clever about their EP, Intensity Sunshine, and a big thumbs up for that. The splendid artwork by Angela Garrick deserves your attention. The closing cut on this volume is a well-crafted electronica track from Phantom Ship out of Minneapolis. Swing is from the Summer EP, produced and Mixed by Scott Gusts who writes, “The release is a bit of a love letter to the Casio CZ-101 synthesizer. Close your eyes and bask in the sun-kissed glow”. Minimal techno/electronica is not so easy to accomplish, Scott Gusts has it down. Thank you for listening, make sure you send me your thoughts, opinions or just say hello.

Playlist

  • Lontallus – Someone Will Be There For You
  • Paola Bennet – In This Body
  • Hotel Decor – Could It Take Me Any Longer
  • Primitive Ignorant – Scream On The Razor (ft. Bess Cavendish)
  • Lewi B – Sensei 
  • The Nextmen X Eva Lazurus – Afterglow Dub
  • The Nextmen X Eva Lazurus – Rudegyal
  • Sailor Down – Skip The Line
  • Packs – Two Hands
  • Packs – Hangman
  • Post Coal Prom Queen – Tomorrow’s Garden
  • Spotlight Kid – Minor Character (original demo)
  • Palms – Too High
  • Phantom Ship – Swing

Artwork by Bobby Sedgewick “Sanctus Morte” 1997 5’ x 4’6” acrylic on canvas. From the collection of Norman B

A Private Conversation With Acclaimed Singer-Songwriter, Amy Rigby

 

In this short, brilliantly written example from Amy Rigby’s memoir, you cannot ignore her raw honesty. Even describing humdrum, day-to-day scenarios she doesn’t wander off into fanciful wordplay. Instead, Amy has a marvelous knack for not only conjuring up the scene but also her feelings at that moment. It’s a powerful skill, she modestly acknowledges. “I write better than I say it.” She announces with a slight giggle. Conversing with Amy is always a treat because you never know what tangent you’ll go in. Reading Girl To City is not unlike having a private conversation with the much-loved artist. She speaks directly to you, sometimes wistfully:

He wore a tank top in winter and summer.
But I loved him.
He gave me a crash course in art and film history.
He also gave me crabs, gonorrhea and herpes.
But I loved him.

And she always speaks with a wink in her eye. Never jaded, often knowing and occasionally with a tartness that catches the reader by surprise. Her memoir is packed full of information, details, names, cultural references, a history of rock and roll as seen through Amy’s almost always bright-eyed vision. There have been a lot of memoirs from the rock fraternity, Girl To City deserves its own unique category, as Lenny Kaye says, “Amy Rigby writes the way she performs and sings, laced with insight, humor, self-awareness, and above all, heart”.

During the conversation, Norman B asked Amy to select some music to play during the show. She decided on two cuts from A One Way Ticket To My Life, a companion album to her book, Girl To City, featuring unreleased tracks and demos. Plus she requested we play, the Summer Of My Wasted Youth from her 1998 album, Middlescence.

Show #422

Genres, What Genres? – Life Elsewhere Music Vol 231

I’ve noticed recently, a plethora of new genres being affixed to the latest releases that have landed on my desk. They appear to be sub-genres of obscure genres. Confusing at best and only useful to serious train-spotters. You could get out of breath name-checking all the genre tags that appear alongside the music – i.e. slo-core; experimental pop; ambient techno; dub techno; experimental electronica; dark electro; shoegaze; minimal dub; math-rock; post-rock; math-core – and so on and so on. For this volume 231, I’ve curated a non-stop mix, defying the genres. If you feel the need, listen carefully and see if you can tag each cut with a genre. To begin, Athens-based DJ/Producer, Duckem gives us Eternal from his album of the same name. This one comes via the excellent Off-Switch Audio. A deft segue into Prism Lips from the LP, Silent Graphs by Survey Channel. “Conceived as “scores for an alternative TV broadcast,” they say. Survey Channel are based in the “chilly Rust Belt city of Buffalo”, (their words). Adding, “There’s no doubt the past year influenced my music towards a darker, more abstracted direction. It is hauntological in so far as I always aim to establish imaginary boundaries with the music; a place that exists outside of the mundane.” Over in Edinburgh, Scotland we find the delightfully-named, Letters From Mouse with The Divide a cut from the LP, An gàrradh. The title is Scots Gaelic for The Garden and “inspired by goings on in my back garden.” Says the author. This is a fine example of music that cannot easily be tagged with one genre or another. Most important, there is so much to discover on the LP. Up next is Shifting Darkness by Astrolemo from the Shifting Darkness EP. This one came with scant information except to say the place of origin is Antartica. You never know, of course. I do know you should check this one out carefully. Good songwriting and production. I like the vocals. The EP Libra from Belgium-based UMM is centered around the Zodiac sign. Engraved ventures off into a instrumental bridge that conjures up memories of bands that once upon a time would protest that they were not pop musicians. No matter, I think UMM are excellent at what they are doing. What Benny Sees is a young duo from Paris experimenting with folk melodies drawn from countryside views as well as contemporary pop production and modern hip hop influences, according to their PR blurb. They continue, their LP Room For Improvement was written and recorded in a country house where we stayed isolated for a couple months. This is a curio in some respects because NOFRIENDS (their caps) is atypical of the other cuts on the album. Luminol is the title of the new LP from Midwife, you’ll hear Christina’s World which Midwife describes as Heaven Metal (there you go, another genre tag). Madeline Johnston is Midwife, she lives and works in San Miguel, New Mexico. She says, “Luminol navigates themes of incarceration, locus of control, clarity, self harm, confinement, agency, and truth-seeking.” Adding, “Luminol is a chemical used by forensic investigators to reveal trace amounts of blood left at a crime scene. When it reacts with blood, luminol emits a chemiluminescent blue glow that can be seen in a darkened room. In the same way this chemical reveals evidence at a scene. I’m interested in profound truth – turning trial and tribulation into sources of light”. “Gaslighting” is a word that has been banded around rather a lot in the last year or so. Ginerva Nervi is aware of that in the same way she know that naming her EP, Klastós will invoke questions. Ginerva explains, “Klastós is the scientific name of clastic sedimentary rocks (from the ancient greek: κλαστός, klastós, “shuttered, broken, shredded”) or detrital rocks derive from sediments whose constituent elements in turn derive mainly from the accumulation of lithic fragments of other altered rocks generally transported by different exogenous agents (river courses, sea currents, winds, etc.) This broken pieces, little particles, grains of something coming from a “one”, represent a sort of “cosm” in which we’re all connected.” Based in Italy, Ginerva Nervi’s work is seriously worth investigating. Jaded Eye modestly says, “I make noise”, the LA-based producer should add, “really good noise”. The cut is Fool My Friends from What Day Is It [the EP]. More please! How about intuitive and genre defying approach to music that blends French poetry with Arabic textures and Brazilian grooves? Mozzaika gives us a mosaic of art forms and cultural influences with Free As The Chorus Lasts from the album LDN Pending… (LDN Pending is the result of a ‘London’ in suspension). She collaborated with South London alternative trap-soul producer DemDrums for this outing. Grime is the genre tag Jawnino uses. Not so familiar in the states, unfortunately. I would delay love to hear more Grime from a London-based producer like Jawnino gaining acceptance here. 40net from the EP of the same name would be a good start. Drea The Vibe Dealer gets straight to the point by insisting they are “genre non conforming songwriter/singer/producer mystic punk fairy. Blending post punk, trip hop, jazz and other bits and pieces”.  Drea calls her music “existential pop” and a “mosaic of sounds”. Priestess of Vibrations, Pt 3 is the Chicago artist’s latest offering, with Sacrifice being a fine taste of “intentionally blending post punk, jazz ,trip hop and existential lyrics and meditations on life and love”. A little jaunt back in time for the next cut courtesy of the Emotional Rescue imprint, a reissue label “specializing in lost or forgotten tracks, remastered and pressed on vinyl with love”. On a 7” this is the reggae guitar legend, Ernest Ranglin with In The Rain (Makatsuku Dub). Crucial. If you have not taken note yet of the UK rap, hip-hop and rap scenes, then do pay careful attention to Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn with Tears On My Window (ft. Eleni Drake). The duo from Brighton have over the past 9 years of friendship and musical partnership honed a unique sound. The result is emotive, original and unmistakably British on Dealing With It. Folktronica is another genre tag, this time attached to the work of Spanish producer, Baiuca. Embruxo his second album finds the Madrid-based maestro collaborating with Rodrigo Cuevas, the tambourine-cantareiras group Lilaina, the flautist-bagpiper Cristian Silva, and percussionist Xosé Lois Romero. Meigallo (ft. Lilaina) takes us to the close of this non-stop mix. Enjoy!

Playlist

  1. Duckem – Eternal
  2. Survey Channel – Prism Lips
  3. Letters From A Mouse – The Divide
  4. Astrolemo – Shifting Darkness
  5. UMM – Engraved
  6. What Benny Sees – NOFRIENDS
  7. Midwife – Christina’s World
  8. Ginerva Nervi – Gaslighting
  9. Jaded Eye – Fool My Friends
  10. Mozzaika x DeeDrums – Free As The Chorus Lasts
  11. Jawnino – 40net
  12. Drea The Vibe Dealer – Sacrifice
  13. Ernest Ranglin – In The Rain (Makatsuku Dub)
  14. Frankie Stew & Harvey Gunn – Tears On My
  15. Baiuca – Meigallo (ft. Lilaina)

Artwork by Monica Faber 1950 – 2019 “What you see? 14” x 14” Mixed media – coffee, tea, fruit juice, toothpaste with ink on cotton rag paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

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