Category Archives: Music

Chris Connelly. An Ongoing Conversation Part 1

The problem with chatting with Chris Connelly is he’s just so damn easy to talk to. You don’t want the conversation to end. Better still, Chris shares memories and insights in such an intimate and jocular manner it’s hard to remember we have not yet met in person. Despite probably being in the same venue at one time or another, Chris Connelly and I have only conversed via Zoom. My first encounter with Connelly was to talk about his latest recording adventure, The Birthday Poems an absorbing album created to celebrate the centenary of Orkney-born poet, George Mackay Brown. For this enterprise, Chris collaborated with the incomparable, Scottish chanteuse, Monica Queen. It became immediately apparent that a dialogue with Mr. Connelly could easily go off in as many directions as we could handle. We agreed right then and there we had to schedule more conversations. And, so it came to be, here then, is Part 1 of my ongoing series of conversations with Chris Connelly. His bio reads like a who’s who of alternative music collaborations. In Part 1 Chris talks about his earliest days in music, his fascination with Bowie, discovering tape-loops, forming  Finitribe in his native Edinburgh, being rejected from major labels, meeting Al Jourgensen, and his many musical projects including MinistryThe Revolting Cocks, and Pigface. This is essential listening for anyone interested in alternative music and/or great conversations.

LEM 243

Remembering Ian Lowery – The Wall Years

David Lowery is proud of his brother. He wishes he hadn’t lost touch with him in the early 90s. “I didn’t get to see him perform live with Ski Patrol” David recalls. The siblings had grown up in Hartlepool in the northeast of England. Once a thriving, industrial area with shipyards, steel mills, and coal mines, after the Second World War, by the late ’60s and early ’70s, unemployment was omnipresent with drastic changes to the British and global economies. For David’s brother Ian, his surroundings didn’t offer much opportunity or escape. So, he veered off the beaten path and began an Art Foundation course at Sunderland Polytechnic. By 1978, Ian Lowery had formed The Prefabs, this was the first of many bands he created and fronted during a prolific musical career, gaining critical acclaim both within and outside the music industry. A well-honed gutter poet since the early days of Punk, Ian developed an idiosyncratic style, fusing a natural gift for sly wordplay and often a snarky phrase for embellishment. Ian’s poignant lyrics were channeled through an explosive if not studied onstage performance. The Prefabs soon disbanded and in late 78, Ian formed The Wall with friends from Art School, John “Joe” Hammond on lead guitar, Andy Griffith on bass with drums bashed by Bruce Archibald. London indie label, Small Wonder impressed Ian with their roster of bands including, The Cure, Bauhaus, Angelic Upstarts, Crass, and more. Demo tracks were sent to the label, a deal was made, a 7” EP was released, and a few appearances on John Peel’s radio show were arranged. Eventually, The Wall fell apart and Ski Patrol came into being, followed by Folk Devils, and eventually Ian Lowery set up The Ian Lowery Group. There were a few more bands and collaborations in between, but it’s The Wall years we are going to concentrate on with David Lowery. He is going to tell the story in a conversation with Norman B and you’ll hear exclusively, previously unreleased tracks from the band. Plus, a very rare recording of Ian Lowery talking about his influences.

Sadly, Ian Lowery died way too young on July 14, 2001. His influence reached so many musicians over the years, in particular the aspiring lads in Seattle and beyond who were part of the so-called, Grunge years. This is essential listening for music aficionados of all stripes. To round out the program, I have chosen new, current music I think Ian Lowery would approve of. Enjoy!

Portions of this information and photograph are used by permission of David Lowery & http://www.ianlowery.com

Show 427

A Conversation With Wally Salem

Wally Salem is a fan. His passion for the music he loves is unrelenting, he’ll talk non-stop, barely taking a breath as he catalogues details, facts, and anecdotes. His enthusiasm resulted in starting his own record label, The Beautiful Music, inspired he says “By the Beauty of Marina Records, the Pop Genius of Allan McGee’s Creation and Poptones labels, the eccentric Dan Treacy’s Whaam and Dreamworld label, the trailblazing Factory Records, the Pure Pop of Matt’s Sarah and Shinkansen labels, Joe Foster’s diverse musical heritage of Kaleidoscope Sound and Rev-Ola labels, Mike Scott’s the Big Music sound and Chicken Jazz label, Chris Seventeen’s love of music with the What a Wonderful Way To Turn Seventeen label and many other labels such as Tangerine, Swordfish, Summershine, Glass, Postcard, Swamplands, Wagging Dog, Little Teddy, Spin Art, Matinee and Detour to name just a few.” Wally adds, “I’m into music that is created for the sheer LOVE of it. Music that celebrates the melody and the harmony, the magnificent and the eccentric. The Beautiful Music is dedicated to distributing Music that soars above the musical landscape in the Jet Stream of POP”. During Wally Salem’s conversation with Norman B you’ll hear cuts from Nikki Sudden doing a cover of Television Personalities’ If I Could Write Poetry. Allan McGee’s short-lived band, Biff Bang Pow! with Someone Stole My Wheels. Tame The Wild Beast from Dot Dash and Skytone with It Doesn’t Really Matter. Also in the show, new but retro-sounding Sons Of Hallucination (ft. Charlotte Condemine) by Steven Jones & Logan Sky. Listen closely for the saxophone parts by Gary Barnacle, one-time member of Visage. Followed by Anastasia Coope who says, “I’m an 18 year old experimental psych folk musician. I began writing music in a serious sense when quarantine began at age 17, and have continued this endeavor throughout my first year at Pratt Institute where I study painting”. Anastasia gives us her self-produced single, Norma Ray. Taking us up to the close are Feu Follet out of France with Falling, featuring Natacha Lubin on vocals from their latest album, Beneath The Earth which comes with a splendid comic book. This one is courtesy of the industrious Alex Donat of Blackjack Illuminist Records

Artwork by Phil Larkin “Batman 11” 2002 4’ x 4’3” Giclée print on archival paper, mounted on fiberboard. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 227

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

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