Category Archives: Media

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 223

To begin, we visit the beautiful Emerald Isle to hear from John F. Phelan and Stephen Byrne who use the moniker, One Morning In August. Their excellent new single, Get It Right on Cork-based indie label, FIFA Records is a stellar production that should prompt you to check out their self-titled album which was released…wait for it…last August. We stay in Ireland to hear from A Cow In The Water with O Preacher from their long-player, Dark Country Jamboree. This band from County Cork was an integral part of the Cork live music scene in the late Eighties and early Nineties and were regulars at venues around the country. Then, the band’s frontman, Aidan O’Connell sadly passed away in 1996 effectively calling an end to almost 10 years of live performances. The remaining band members went on to separate projects but occasionally gathered for impromptu performances. In late 2017 A Cow In The Water reformed with John Lynch who previously was the drummer with, Emperor of Ice Cream, and began work on their new LP. A tip: do check out the whole LP. Francis Lung is next with Bad Hair Day. A well-produced cut, showcasing Mr. Lung’s competent ability to write and perform a genuinely good pop song. In my voice-over commentary, it may come across like I’m being a little sarcastic, apologies for that, instead, I was intending to give kudos to Francis. Kylie Van Slyke from Vancouver BC says on their Twitter page, “Hey, I’m Kylie V, I’m 17 and non-binary, and I make music that will probably mostly make you sad”. I mention this because I think it is important that we all should be respectful of everyone’s sexual identity. Performing as Kylie V the title cut from their album, Big Blue is yes, sad, at the same time Kylie proves such confident songwriting and singing and production. You should also know that the Canadian government believes in supporting the arts. They helped Kylie V on this one. An essential LP. There is so much to talk about with Leg Puppy and their latest album, A Guide To Social Remixing. Not least of all, their questionable penchant for dressing up as clowns. I admit clowns scare me. I suspect that will warm Leg Puppy’s little hearts. The South London band conjure up decidedly good music, Bring The War (Wake Me When It’s Gone) being a fine example, although there are at least four other cuts I could have selected. Leg Puppy like to make videos with a deliberate DIY look. They have a lot to view, all worth your time. As I was finalizing this playlist news came in that the last surviving member of the original Wailers had passed. One Neville O’Riley Livingston also known as Bunny Livingston or Bunny Wailer…dead at the age of 73 just a couple of months short of his 74th birthday. Long considered a living legend, the Rastafarian singer-songwriter a winner of a number of Grammy awards was named recently by Newsweek as one of the three most important musicians in world music!  As a tribute, I’m going to take you back in time to circa 1972 when Bunny Wailer was known for his smooth Rock Steady stylings. Recorded at Tuff Gong and released as a 7” on the Solomonic label, Search For Love. Rest In Peace, Bunny Wailer. Staying on a reggae tip, we turn to producer, Richie Phoe with his brilliant reworking of Jacob Miller’s reggae classic, Baby I Love You So. Richie is joined by Kassia Zermon & Leroy Horns on vocals & sax.This one is available as a limited edition 7” and as a digital release on Balanced records. Listen carefully as I segue into Baby I Dub You So. Sometimes you just have to see the video created for a song, don’t miss, End Of The Road by Israeli singer, Noga Erez strutting her stuff with an aloofness most high fashion models would crave to master. The Tel Aviv-based artist has a terrific look which only enhances her rapid-fire rapping. Very cool. Here is a name I want you to take note of, Bleach Lab. Now, I know some of you trainspotter types will be stomping over each other to shout out, “Sounds like!” Yet, give Bleach Lab a chance, please, Never Be is from a two-track single by the four-piece originally from Buckinghamshire, now based in South London. They formed in 2018 and I’m seriously looking forward to hearing more from this excellent quartet. Play it again and again. Lucy Kruger says her new album, Transit Tapes, is for women who move furniture around. Now, I’m not sure if that is a threat, but what I do know is Evening Train from Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys has me intrigued. From what I can gather, Lucy Kruger is originally from South Africa but now resides in Berlin and I’m going to keep a watchful eye out for more of her and the band. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, compilations are a terrific way to learn about a certain style of music or label or even a place. Here then out of Paris, a tasty comp on Hologram Records titled, Darkives. Marina P offers us a first-class production with Watching Over. You are advised to don your headset for this one and turn the volume up to 11. Wicked production. The final cut in LEM Vol 223 is Eggshells from the EP Belonging by Joely who says, “I’m 20. I write soulful, relaxed pop”. This talented singer-songwriter from Oxford has created a radio-friendly single. Splendid arraignment and production. Thank you for listening. 

LEM Vol 223 Playlist

  1. One Morning In August – Get It Right
  2. A Cow In The Water – O Preacher
  3. Francis Lung – Bad Hair Day
  4. Kylie V – Big Blue
  5. Leg Puppy – Bring The War (Wake Me When It’s Gone)
  6. Bunny Wailer – Search For Love
  7. Richie Phoe – Baby I Love You So
  8. Richie Phoe – Baby I Dub You So
  9. Noga Erez – End Of The Road
  10. Bleach Lab – Never Be
  11. Lucy Kruger & The Lost Boys – Evening Train
  12. Marina P – Watching Over
  13. Joely – Eggshells

The artwork for this volume is by Skip Mathewson “Mum, I’m bleeding” 2000 4’ x 4’ Giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

A Conversation With Chip Jacobs

If you are going to write a crime thriller, what are the essential ingredients? Well, how about a big helping of murder, mix in a generous portion of blackmail, spice everything up with a layer of greed, add a dollop or two of 1979 Los Angeles, and sprinkle in a shiny El Camino. Pasadena-based writer, Chip Jacobs has perfected the recipe with his latest book, The Darkest Glare. Only there is one important ingredient Mr. Jacobs has no option but to admit to – his new crime thriller is true, all of it. The Darkest Glare reads like a grotesquely macabre fantasy it also has moments of absurd hilarity. Yet despite, Chip Jacobs’s undoubted ability to create a dark twisted tale, he readily agrees, even he could not have come up with such a bizarre cast of characters, or a plot with more twists and turns than a bowl of spaghetti. Mr. Jacobs tells the tale with a steady hand and crystal-clear eye. He spares no details yet he skillfully moves the story along at a feverish pace. Below the surface, this is a story of personal failure and hidden vulnerability. As the story unfolds Chip paints the complexity of real people instead of presenting two-dimensional villains. Like his book, Jacobs verve for explaining the details makes for a fascinating guest.

Just as we were putting this show together, news came in that the last surviving member of the original Wailers had passed. Jamaican-born Neville O’Riley Livingston also known as Bunny Livingston or Bunny Wailer was dead at the age of 73 just a couple of months short of his 74th birthday. Long considered a living legend, the Rastafarian singer-songwriter winner of a number of Grammy awards was named recently by Newsweek as one of the three most important musicians in world music. For a tribute, we take you back in time to circa 1981 to hear Bunny Wailer’s, Rise and Shine, a 12” platter on Solomonic Records. Rest In Peace, sir.

Show 414

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 222

Honestly, the temptation to go on a rant about the headlines coming across my news feeds almost interrupted me from beginning this post with a jolly, happy paragraph on the marvelous wonders of new releases that landed on my desk this week. Almost! Nah, let’s get everything underway and rave on, starting with Manchester-based Lindsay Munroe. Her new single, Need A Ride caught me tapping my feet along to the comfortable steady drum and bass pattern, then Lindsay’s voice took me by surprise. She sounds so vulnerable, yet as I listened closely, I understood, she is pissed off, “I don’t need someone to take my heat / It’s just me between these sheets / I feel more when I’m alone”. Do yourself a favor, check out Lindsay Munroe’s earlier releases. The beginning of Turn To Dust by Lauren Lakis must be the talented chanteuse manipulating the pitch to give us a somber, moody into more straight-forward rendering. The mood remains throughout though, courtesy of an excellent production. You may pick up on a lot of references here if you listen to Daughter Of Language, her new album. And that’s fine with me. The LP Summerheads And Winter Beds by The Raft once again prove that Nico of Shoredive Records is maintaining quality control for his label. Phil Wilson has been writing recording and performing under the name The Raft since 2003. He brings on board an array of different vocalists, Claire O’Neill sings on There’s No Going Back. The album was produced by Phil and J Pedro and a fine effort they have made. I have no idea how close they are to each other, but Shoredive is located in Brighton on England’s south coast and in the same locale as Jon Jones and posse at Roots Garden Records. Consistently releasing the finest of modern reggae, Free Da Minds by Dark Angel being a fine example. The rhythm here was conjured up by producer Nick Manasseh back in 2007 and named The Levi Rhythm. Nick is back behind the mixing board on this gem, twiddling the knobs for Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka). As a bonus, I segue into Free Dub. Dance music with a message. OK, this is where I will admit to having been severely chastised by my producer for messing up the name YVA. Eva appears to be the correct pronunciation. The EP is titled, Hype Machine, you’ll hear, Fountain Of Youth. Amy Holford is YVA accompanied by Jonathan Hibbert, Martyn Kaine, Anna Pheobe, and Jordan Miller. So impressed was I with YVA, I searched out her acoustic version of her debut release, I Won’t Wait. You can hear that over at Life Elsewhere #413. The London-based artist says, “There’s no fountain of youth, just beautiful untruth” and “I hate that I’m an unwitting sales-person for my self-hate” Love it! Next, we dash back to Shoredive to hear from Air Hunger with Felt Like Dying a cut from the LP, F-I-X-E-R. This is the solo project of Polish musician Dawid Schindler, recorded entirely on his iPhone. Wonderful! There is probably a story behind the album title, How To Weigh a Whale Without a Scale from Léanie Kaleido. But, what I do know for sure is Léanie has captured an intriguing story in All The Things I’m Made Of. The UK-based artist grew up in a musical household, the daughter of The Yardbirds lead guitarist, Top Topham. At the production-desk is Mark Gardener of Ride fame. The Capital of Washington state is an unassuming, often very damp place named rather imperiously, Olympia. It could be argued that Calvin Johnson and his influential indie label, K Records are Olympia’s most celebrated legacy for serious music-lovers. Another fine example of K Records output is the album, Fake Books where we find The Moving Pictures four years after their debut album with three fewer members and eight new songs. Now we have one person, in this case, a poet and his guitar, synths, and a 606. Loved One, a sad song yet a memorable one. And when did you last hear Christopher Isherwood mentioned in a pop song? (This is a co-release with Perennial records, also out of Olympia). And, now to an artist who is unwavering in exposing her insecurities and questions. Yes, Anna B Savage has a remarkable voice and yes, Anna stretches and coaxes her personal instrument to deliver an astonishing range to wrap her provocative lyrics in. Her debut LP, A Common Turn takes the listener on an emotive journey that can only be heard as illicitly peeking into Ms. Savage’s secret diary. But here’s the conundrum, Anna’s words are so private, so intense yet she sounds determined to make sure we hear everything, loud and clear.  “This whole album is about questioning, exploration and trying really fucking hard. Hopefully a vibrator is a good companion for most of these things. To sum it up in two words: wank more,” she writes. You’ll hear two cuts, Corncrakes and Chelsea Hotel #3, listen carefully. Watch the videos. Admire the superb production by William Doyle. If you don’t agree this is an exceptional album, write to me with your thoughts. Both David Long & Shane O’Neill were the singers and main songwriters in two separate Irish 80’spost punk/indie/rock bands. David Long was part of Into Paradise and Shane O’Neill was part of Blue In Heaven. They both come from the same part of Dublin and have known each other since they were about 6 or 7, which goes a long way to explain the symmetry that shines in their new album, Moll & Zeis. The title cut was chosen as it represents just how good this album is. How many years ago was it when I first played the glorious 10” EP Turn To Red by Killing Joke on the radio? It does seem like so long ago, so far away. Not just because I was the first DJ besides Peel to air that extraordinary record, not even because I championed the band for weeks, for months, for years, I’m still excited to hear a new release from anyone involved with the band. What a delight then to receive a new three-track EP from K÷, a unique collaboration between kindred spirits: Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, and Peter Hook. The first two gents part of Killing Joke and Hook of course of Joy Division and New Order fame. Although the name in print is , they ask you say Killing Division. Remembrance Day is the first single, released a few days ago. To take us up to the close of the show, a little taste of Giving Up The Ghost from . There you are a jolly, happy paragraph (or three) on the marvelous wonders of new releases that landed on my desk this week. Enjoy!

LEM Vol 222 Playlist

  1. Lindsay Munroe – Need A Ride
  2. Lauren Lakis – Turn To Dust
  3. The Raft – There’s No Going Back
  4. Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka) – Free Da Minds
  5. Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka) – Free Dub
  6. YVA – Fountain Of Youth
  7. Air Hunger – Felt Like Dying
  8. Léanie Kaleido – All The Things I’m Made Of
  9. The Moving Pictures – Loved One
  10. Anna B Savage – Corncrakes
  11. Anna B Savage – Chelsea Hotel #3
  12. David Long & Shane O’Neill – Moll & Zeis
  13. – Remembrance Day
  14. K÷ – Giving Up The Ghost

Artwork for this volume by Celia “Teddy” Rubin “Father’s Day” 5’ x 4’6” 1999 Giclee print on archival paper mounted on wood panel. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection 

LEM Vol 222

More Questions Than Answers?

What happened? How did we get to where less than one percent have more wealth than everyone else in America combined? Why are so many people holding down jobs but living in their cars because they can’t afford rent? Who are the people panhandling at every busy intersection of every American city? How is it possible that we spend gazillions of dollars on weapons that will never be used while children starve across all fifty states? Why is health-care debt the number one cause of bankruptcy in America? Questions. So many questions. Dale Maharidge has spent the last couple of decades asking these questions. He has written extensively about all of these problems and more. Dale has traveled the length and breadth of the USA to investigate, to interview, to experience, to learn—to attempt to understand the downward spiral of the American working class. His latest book, Fucked At Birth delves deep into all these issues. He explores the realities of being poor in America in the coming decade, as a pandemic, economic crisis, and social revolution up-end the country. Maharidge channels the history of poverty in America to help inform the voices he encounters daily. With Fucked At Birth, he dares the reader to see themselves in those suffering the most and to finally, after decades of refusal, recalibrate what we are going to do about it.

                            .   

To begin the show, new music from Cathal Coughlan an Irish singer-songwriter who is not shy about sharing and exposing his opinions. As you’ll hear with Owl In The Parlour from his latest solo album, Songs Of Co-Aklan. The Irish Times described Cathal as the “genius of Irish rock”, noting his earlier and acclaimed bands, Microdisney and The Fatima Mansions. Make sure you check out Norman B’s Conversation With Cathal Coughlan. We close the show with a powerful new singer-songwriter discovery from London, YVA with a beautiful acoustic version of her debut single, I Won’t Wait. Amy Holford performs under the moniker of YVA, and we suggest you keep a watchful eye out for more releases from YVA.

Show 413

A Conversation With Charlie Nieland

Divisions, the title track from his new album of the same name begins with a steady pounding drum beat, hovering underneath a treated guitar appears but doesn’t intrude, then Charlie Nieland sings. His deadpan voice sounds familiar yet as the song moves along you realize this is new, not reworked codas from a past decade or three. Nieland has a smart knack for referencing identifiable sounds and making them his own. Charlie is comfortable talking about influences, while almost swooning as he recounts working with New Wave diva, Debbie Harry. Renowned for tastefully blending post-punk, dream pop, and progressive rock with sweeping melodies and restless and visceral rhythms, Charlie Nieland has been writing, playing, and producing music for decades, with a focus on the atmospheric and the imaginative. Nieland played power dream pop with the band Her Vanished Grace for over 20 years before establishing himself as a solo artist with a mix of nuanced songwriting and sonic exploration. He is currently half of the literature-inspired songwriting and performing duo Lusterlit with Susan Hwang. Over the years, Charlie has written and produced material with such notable artists as Debbie Harry, Rufus Wainwright, Dead Leaf Echo, Blondie, and Scissor Sisters. He scored the feature film The Safety of Objects (starring Glenn Close), the pilot episode of The L Word on Showtime, and the VH-1documentary NY77: The Coolest Year in Hell. Charlie was awarded a Gold record (UK) for his production work on Blondie’s Greatest Hits Sight & Sound and achieved a Top 10 Billboard Dance Chart Position with Debbie Harry’s single Two Times Blue, which he co-wrote and produced. Charlie Nieland and Norman B connected via Zoom for this conversation.

LEM Vol 221

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