Category Archives: Talk Radio

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

Honestly, it’s fine. – Life Elsewhere Music Vol 230

I’m Glad It’s Over Now is the title of fine.’s latest album. If any other band had come up with that title you’d expect a dour collection of songs, along with a miserable attitude. As it happens, fine. are certainly not miserable and their songs hardly dour. All the more surprising then, when you learn the stories behind, When I Came / Where You Left and I Sleep So Much Better Now are based on the reality of experiencing this mortal coil. The pathos behind these songs is not hidden away nor is it brandished like a signal for sympathy. Instead, Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh exude an honesty that is not only refreshing but also perfectly natural. The couple got together in 2015 and began making music alongside their individual projects. As fine. they have achieved that clever, but hard to accomplish mode of making music that sounds new and modern with knowing references, yet it’s distinctly their own creation. In our conversation and the cuts Alice and Liam selected you’ll hear why I’m so enamored with them and their music.

To begin LEM Vol 230 it’s Robi Mitch with Golden Hour from his new LP, Future Perfect. Robi clearly has a knack for writing good pop songs and the production is not too shabby either. Robi Mitch is based out of Bristol, the legendary seaport town in the west of England where so much great music has been produced over many years. It happens that the next artist, Segun Lee-French spent over seven years in Bristol making music with a number of outfits including, Earthling. He is now back with his first single in 25 years. Segun has come up with a fabulous version of The Specials’ Ghost Town. “An era defying song” says Segun, and this year marks the 40th anniversary of Ghost Town’s original release in 1981, a year  marked by riots across the UK. And now, Segun says, “We’ve had a year of Covid so the social resonances of the song are equally as sharp, at a time when all the clubs literally been closed down and young people have the worst job prospects for generations”. From Segun’s 2021 rendition of Ghost Town we go back in time to 1995 when he was associated with Earthling on the sublime Cooltempo label to hear Infinite M. Trip Hop at its best. Our friend Nico over at Shoredive Records consistently releases quality music, Flu Flu from Sevilla in Spain are a fine example. Mi Novia Futurista is from their LP, Mi Mundo Interior. Loveless by fine. is next, then my conversation with Alice and Liam who curated their own music. One Year On is from I’m Glad It’s Over Now. Last Dance is from their Last Dance LP. Liam AKA gives us Kid Chameleon with My Girl Is 6 from Unreaching The Reeds and to close, its Alice Kat with Temporary High from Telephone Conversation. Enjoy!

The artwork for this volume is by Sandra Kendrick “Roots at the beach” 2007 3’ x 3’ giclée print on archival paper mounted on hardboard. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 230

Revisiting Challenging Covid With Music!

It will be one year ago on Sunday, April 25th 2020 that we aired this show. 12 months later, Covid is still with us.

Barzin, the talented singer-songwriter, poet, all-round good guy, and friend of Life Elsewhere alerted us to a new compilation he had contributed a previously unreleased cut to. If Barzin was involved it had to be seriously worth checking out. We did. And, it is. “Love In The Time Of Covid” curated by Andrea Vascellari, is an exceptional collection of music. Based in North-East Italy where the virus has wreaked devastating havoc, Andrea took it upon himself to reach out to acts from the most relevant in slowcore, dreampop, and drone-rock scenes. He requested tracks that had not been released before. And, he explained, “All proceeds will go to the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, supporting the World Health Organization’s work to track and understand the spread of the virus, to ensure patients get the care they need and the frontline workers get essential supplies and information, and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them”. The seventeen tracks Andrea selected for “Love In The Time Of Covid” perfectly evoke this peculiar and unfathomable of times we are all enduring. Andrea Vascellari is a fan, he is a musician, he is passionate about bringing together this remarkable compilation to challenge Covid.

Please make sure you do not miss our exclusive conversation with Andrea Vascellari. And, support this cause.

LE Show 421

 

 

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