Tag Archives: Indie

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 256

Here we go on a musical adventure, crossing frontiers and embracing as many genres as possible, to begin, we visit Nashville to hear from Pretty Embers who tells all about Inside. I particularly like the arrangement and the reverb on the singer’s voice halfway through. Looking forward to their debut EP coming soon. Fears is London-based Irish artist, musician, and producer Constance Keane who says, “Fears invites the listener on an ethereal journey, blurring the boundaries between music and visual art”. Fabric is from Constance’s debut LP, Oíche, (that’s ‘night’ in Irish). Lovely reflective electronics, acoustic samples, and haunting vocals going on here. Next, we travel to Hamilton, Ontario to hear UBRS by Scott Orr from his album, Oh Man. According to Scott, “This is an album about death, our planet, and the afterlife through a folky, smooth-jazz lens”. Yes, I’m a bit bothered by that description, but Mr. Orr is good at what he does. We played a cut from James M. Carson’s LP,  It Starts With A Shaker a few volumes ago. At the time, I mentioned it would be good to hear more from James. He didn’t waste any time, he sent us his complete LP, plus he generously sent a few videos from his acoustic sessions. An excellent songwriter is Mr. Carson as you’ll hear on ’Till The Morning. Demonstrating more of his musical ability, James shared Suburban Tides a cut from The Swells, another band he plays with.  The lads are Matt Grayson, Dom Marsh, Louis Smith, and Rob Cieka, all out of Manchester. Sticking with mixing up the genres, we dash off to Sydney, Australia to hear from Morilla & Oliver who are Midnight Pool Party. About their disco banger, Potential they say “It’s about shooting your shot with someone and just taking a risk, but it’s also about having fun, being free, and having the confidence to be someone’s fantasy”. Fair enough. Midnight Pool Party are courtesy of Mammal Sounds management, so with that pedigree, your know they are worth your time. We stay in a disco stylee with Spray who reckon we should all get Hammered In An Airport. Ambiguous Poems About Death is the LP on Analogue Trash out of Manchester. Siblings Jenny McLaren and Ricardo Autobahn are Spray and we approve of their retro sound. We stay in Manchester to catch up with our good friend, Harry Stafford, yes he of Inca Babies fame who are having a new lease of life with their latest album, Swamp Street Soul. Original Inca Babies guitarist, Harry Stafford, has joined up with Vince Hunt and Rob Haynes to revitalize the band which began in 1984. Walk In The Park is a fine reason to check out, Swamp Street Soul. “Alternative music for the curious minds and hungry xenophiles”, says Brooklyn-based Anjali Rose about her LP, Shadow Works. Such a lot of interesting ideas here as you’ll hear on Beautiful. Anjali Rose describes herself as a musician, videographer, and freak. We like that. Maxine Funke’s distinctive and charming dialect comes to the fore as she almost whispers, Homage from her album, Seance. The New Zealand-based artist’s voice reminds me of something, somewhere, it may not be even music, but it does evoke a feeling, not necessarily sad, perhaps – knowing? Alluring. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that Pictoria Vark is out of Grinnal, Iowa. Yet, the real surprise is just how good I Can’t Bike is. Here we have Victoria Park on bass and vocals, Gavin Caine is busy with drums, percussion, keys, and guitar, and Jason Ross is also on guitar. And, what a marvelous sound they all make. I love this record. To take us to the close, crucial, authentic, jungle from London by LMajor with Feelin’ featuring Fracture. Their Can’t Do It EP is essential listening. Thank you for listening, do let us know what you think of LEM, send your thoughts to normanb@lifeelsewhere.co

Playlist

  1. Pretty Embers – Inside
  2. Fears – Fabric
  3. Scott Orr – UBRS
  4. James M. Carson – ’Till The Morning
  5. The Swells – Suburban Tides
  6. Midnight Pool Party – Potential
  7. Spray – Hammered In An Airport
  8. Inca Babies – Walk In The Park
  9. Anjali Rose – Beautiful
  10. Maxine Funke – Homage
  11. Pictoria Vark – I Can’t Bike
  12. LMajor – Feeling (ft. Fracture)

Artwork by Gordon L. Reeves 1939 – 2002 “Southgate, Lakeland, FL” 1967 Kodachrome print 36” x 36” Courtesy of Norman B’s collection 

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 255

Stand by, here we go with 60 minutes of super new releases, plus an obscure oldie from my archives. To begin, Rodney Cromwell who tells all about Memory Box. Writing and recording in his home studio in Catford, South London, Adam Cresswell goes by the moniker of Rodney Cromwell, Memory Box is the title track of his forthcoming. Adam says he came across Wormtongue from Tolkien while he was recovering from an illness and in his disorientated state of brain-fog, riverbanks, woods, castles, and a perfumed rose garden sent his writing off in a more heady and fantastical direction. We approve. Peter Bogolub out of NYC goes by the moniker, Loops & Loops and has been making music for the last 20 years ranging from shoegaze to indie to lofi. Doubts, Peter’s latest single sounds familiar yet decidedly original. Not sure if it’s the languid vocals or the production that’s more complex than it first sounds that won me over. Excellent work, we want to hear more from Loops & Loops. From Tokyo, Re:Lapse give us Little, Little from their self-titled EP. Beneath those layers of sound, the boy-girl vocals may appear vulnerable against the steady-marching drum pattern, yet together it all works to full effect. Our feature on Mammal Sounds with Jez Ryan (LEM Vol 253) prompted a lot of curiosity about the excellent parade of music hailing from down under. So, when Jez sent us more releases it’s only fair we should share In Vain by Cin with you. A seemingly low-key song, but Cin says “I didn’t really go into this song trying to write something sad, but I guess that this song probably takes inspiration from the general state of the planet. I feel like a lot of people are hurting, and that the last few years have been difficult for most.Sometimes you just need a loved one or a family member to tell you that things are going to be okay” A serious sentiment, well put. Creating a stage or band name can result in some interesting choices. For instance, the name Soren Bryce selected – Tummyache. The musician and producer recently relocated from the USA to London and says this about their song, Soak, “It was inspired by newfound neurotic and tedious habits that formed during the isolation of the pandemic, whilst adjusting to being in a new country. A new kind of forced domesticity caused me to avoid reality and I wasn’t able to fall back on my usual escapism methods. I learned a lot about myself.” The pandemic and isolation has affected a lot of artists, Soren Bryce’s words probably apply to so many people right now. Listen carefully to Tummyache’s Soak. We love the boisterous guitar break. Earlier this year I invited Alice Kat and Liam James Marsh who go by the name of fine. to join the show for a chat. (LEM Vol 230). Alice was so appreciative that we had fine. on the show and that I raved on about their music, she very kindly sent us a limited edition of her Alice Kat LP on vinyl and a cd of her Telephone Conversations LP, along with a truly charming message. In return, I’ve included Glitter All Around, a cut from Alice’s CD. A truly talented artist. Recently, I was rummaging around in my archives looking for something, what it was, I’ve forgotten, but luckily I came across a true gem from 1963, it’s Susan King with Morning. The 7” disc is on Toy Records, with a bright pink label depicting a toy poodle in silhouette. Such a wonderful recording. From 1993 we come up to date with (Eli)Zabeth Owens and Once In A While from their new album, Knock Knock. I was alerted to (Eli)Zabeth Owens by the always astute Nancy Kells of grimalkin Records. Originally from the UK, Owens is now based in Richmond, Virginia, and says this, “I’m a poet & producer constantly coming of age”. (Eli)Zabeth is also a creative videographer who made excellent videos to accompany each of the tracks on their album. Peter Hall is out of Nottingham in the UK, The Best Idea is from his forthcoming LP, Light The Stars. This is one of those songs I think you need to listen to a number of times, then it all falls into place. This carefully crafted song could be described as misleading if you only hear Peter’s almost fragile-sounding voice. Listen again and you’ll realize his arrangement uses far more colors than you first thought you heard. Sine is an electronic band created by singer and drummer, Rona Rougeheart out of Austin. For the track Desolate District the always-on-form, Chris Connelly contributes his splendid voice. We selected the NITE remix. The LP is titled, Desire, Denial and Paramania. Make sure you investigate. Although 39 years have passed since the Cocteau Twins debut release, Garlands, founding member, Robin Guthrie prefers you focus on his latest work. Mockingbird Love EP is the first new music from Robin Guthrie since the ‘Another Flower’ album with the late Harold Budd, released just days before Budd’s passing in December 2020. About his new work, Robin Guthrie says, “Of late I’ve been very focused on my instrumental music, which is increasingly an intense endeavor, all the more so as I don’t really share it with anyone. So here I am, finally, with some words about my next releases. ‘Mockingbird Love’, a four-track EP, is the first small collection of music that I have felt comfortable to release for a while. This is my October.” For this volume, we selected My Courtesan. A conversation with Robin Guthrie is in the works. Next up, an EP I have been fascinated by and playing repeatedly since it arrived just a few days ago. It’s Lilacjack and according to the credits, the music and lyrics are by Jackie, and so is the production, can we presume Jackie is Lilacjack? There are four tracks, you’ll hear Her Heartbeat Pressed Against My Feet, but seriously, you have to check Lilacjack’s EP out for yourself. Mammal Sounds out of Australia won our attention with a continual array of excellent releases, so label-boss Jez Ryan joined the show for a chat recently. One of the artists Jez has been raving on about is Lemonade Baby who happens to have a brand new single, Ex Best Friend. Brannon Hughes AKA Lemonade Baby says, Ex Best Friend is about loss and missing someone that has gone away. “I feel like everyone can grow distant from one another and experiencing distance makes me self-reflective. I start questioning myself like; Why didn’t I reply? or How come I haven’t heard from you in a while?” Understood. Pure pop music at its best. To take us up to the closing credits, London producer and DJ, Hylu with Zaf from the Latent Variables EP. This is an example of new electronica music we will build a whole show around for an upcoming volume. As you listen carefully to Zaf try and identify the sounds from nature in the mix. Till next time, be well, be safe and you know it costs nothing, be nice.

Playlist

  1. Rodney Cromwell – Memory Box
  2. Loops & Loops – Doubts
  3. Re:Lapse – Little, Little
  4. Cin – In Vain
  5. Tummyache – Soak
  6. Alice Kat – Glitter All Around
  7. Susan King – Morning
  8. (Eli)zabeth Owens – Once In A While
  9. Peter Hall – The Best Idea
  10. Sine – Desolate District (ft. Chris Connelly) (NITE Remix)
  11. Robin Guthrie – My Courtesan
  12. Lilacjack – Her Heartbeat Pressed Against My Feet
  13. Lemonade Baby – Ex Best Friend
  14. Hylu – Zaf

Artwork by Chuck Benbow 1956 – 2015 “Chicki #4″ 2009 Kodachrome print 24″ x 24”. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

A Conversation With Jez Ryan of Mammal Sounds. Josh Idehen’s Latest.

Located about 4 miles east of downtown Sydney, Australia you find the beautiful (and celebrated) Bondi Beach, where you’ll also find the home of Mammal Sounds and Jez Ryan the charming chap who runs the label. Mammal Sounds a self-proclaimed boutique label caught my attention because a number of their releases and artists have become frequent additions to the LEM playlists., including, Benji Lewis, Lemonade Baby, Golden Vessel, Hotel Decor, and George Gretton. Our ongoing series of chats with indie labels meant we had to learn more about Mammal Sounds and the indie scene in Australia. With the convoluted fourteen-hour-time difference in effect, a Zoom meeting with Jez was scheduled. At nine am, Sydney time, Mr. Ryan was bright and alert with the morning sun beaming through his window, while the night was settling in – the day before on the east coast of America, an engaging conversation began. You’ll hear Jez Ryan’s insights into the Australian music scene and his selections for the show from Lemonade Baby, Daste, Golden Vessel, and Slouch Online. Thank you, Jez and Mammal Sounds.

Our dear friend, the very talented Joshua Idehen sent us his latest release. “It’s a new side project”, says Josh, “with celebrated producer Daedelus and composer Miguel Atwood Ferguson it’s called Standing In My Own Way (Part One)”. Josh recently became a very proud father and he has taken to posting gorgeous photos of himself smothering his young child with love. And, I do believe, Standing In My Own Way (Part One) is in part a reflection on the knowledge Josh has garnered from people like me who have congratulated him on becoming a father but have also cautioned him to enjoy every teeny tiny precious moment of his new life as a parent. Much love, Josh.

 

LEM Vol 253

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 247

Oh, no! What have I done? It was a simple question from a listener, Carla W who asked, “What one album should be in everyone’s collection?” After ruminating on this for some while, I replied that I could come up with at least 10 albums that should be in everyone’s collection, finally, I settled on Television’s 1977 release, Marquee Moon. And that provoked a torrent of responses, so many of you were eager to correct me. Dan Grady said, “You are wrong, Mr. B! It’s the Ramones self-titled debut LP from 1976”. While Colin Clockface (sic) is adamant it has to be XTC’s White Music LP from 1978, and Judy Bliss argues that Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys is the essential album. Another listener, Bob999 insists the 1967 release, The Velvet Underground & Nico outclasses everything else. Bob999 adds if it weren’t for that album we wouldn’t have anywhere near as many great recordings since then. To confuse matters more, in a conversation with famed alternative musician, Chris Connelly I posed the same question, Chris responded so quickly, I wasn’t sure he had heard the question, correctly. “Captain Beefheart, Trout Mask Replica!” Chris almost barked adding, “If I had to go out and buy one record today, that’s the one!” Unsurprising I guess, that everyone has their choice for an essential album. Why don’t you share your essential album with me? Will any of the selections for LEM Vol 247 become essential in the future? We start with, I Think Of You by Morgan Wright from his LP, Class Tourist. Morgan is out of Melbourne, Australia, and according to the info I received his music is a celebration of the interaction of dance music and sentimentality. And he says, he makes sounds that are to embrace on the dance-floor or ruminate with in isolation. We stay in Melbourne to hear from Open Swimmer and the cut, Quiet Tide from the LP, The Bird Flies Toward You. This is the work of composer Ben Talbot-Dunn who mentions the songs are about the past and the warping of memory. Ben shares this info, “I recorded at various locations on Wadawurrung country, I acknowledge the Wadawurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of the land and waters where this album was made. I honor and pay my respects to Elders past, present, and emerging”. Next up, Different Worlds from a fellow called James M Carson who is based in Manchester, UK. Although I’m sure if you took a guess at his home address, you’d most likely reckon it’s in California somewhere. James has a smart knack for writing and making music that harkens back to another time and place. And, such a good job he does too as you’ll discover with the LP, It Starts With A Shaker… OneTwoThree are three bassists all women who all played in 70s and 80s Swiss punk scene. Klaudia Schifferle of Kleenex, later Liliput, Madeline Peer of Noknows and Sara Schär, the singer for the bands, TNT and Souldawn and also bassist for The Kick. From their fun self-titled album you’ll hear Sudden, followed by Bubbles. Omar S is out of the Motor City, the Detroit producer has created an infectious double-sided single with What’s Good For The Goose featuring Super Cool Wicked. We selected the Dub version and wish it went on for a least another ten minutes. Crucial. Over in the UK, you find The Diabolical Liberties AKA General Rubbish & Alex Patchwork AKA Rob Gallagher & Alex Stevenson. Now stay with me here, TDL have a new EP, Birds Of A Feather with Mostly Indoors being the hot single. But, they also have a Dub version of last year’s release, High Protection & The Sportswear Mystics. So, just to make things a little harder to fathom, you’ll hear Rudeboys In Outa Space segueing into, Rudeboys In Outta Dub from Dub Protection & The Sportswear Mystics. Trust me, you’ll wanna hear more. Over in Dublin, there are a bunch of lads who don’t hesitate to show their influences. And that’s a good thing. They are Klubber Lang who demonstrate with Sleep Well that we need to keep a watchful eye out for their next releases. If you happen to think their name, Klubber Lang sounds familiar, you are correct, it comes from James “Clubber” a fictional character created by Sylvester Stallone for the film Rocky111, released in 1982. Seriously, this is rock ’n’ roll and we like it! Staying in that vein, Grace Vonderkuhn from Wilmington, Delaware proves they are determined to keep the party going with Outside Girl from their excellent LP, Pleasure Pain. A large tip of the hat to Grace Koon on guitar & vocals, Dave McGrory on drums & vocals, and on bass it’s Brian Bartling. Rounding out the show is Armlock with Turf War from the LP, Trust. Hamish Mitchell and Simon Lam are Armlock, they say Trust began as voice memos passed back and forth between the two, with early demos being recorded when the pair lived together in Yarraville, Melbourne in 2019. The band handled every aspect of Trust themselves, including production, recording, mixing, and mastering. About Turf War they say, “It’s an ode to moving on without closure, the way things left unsaid often hit the hardest”. True.

Playlist

  1. Morgan Wright – I Think Of You
  2. Open Swimmer – Quiet Tide
  3. James M Carson – Different Worlds
  4. OneTwoThree – Sudden
  5. OneTwoThree – Bubble
  6. Omar S (feat. Super Cool Wicked) – What’s Good For The Goose Dub Mix
  7. The Diabolical Liberties – Mostly Indoors
  8. The Diabolical Liberties – Rudeboys In Outa Space
  9. The Diabolical Liberties – Rudeboys In Outta Dub
  10. Klubber Lang – Sleep Well
  11. Grace Vonderkuhn – Outside Girl
  12. Arlock – Turf War

Artwork by B. Brentford Skylar 1946 – 2019 “Gate and shadow” 36” x 38” 1981 Kodachrome print. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection 

 

LEM Vol 247

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 219

It was a busy week putting this volume together. A massive amount of new music arrived, which resulted in a lot of late nights of listening. Not really a hard task staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning enjoying new music. But, it’s narrowing the selection down to a 60-minute show. Here are the results. First up, we go to Liverpool to hear from Amber Jay with Stay The Same. Now here is one you need to listen to carefully. After a plaintive first few lines Amber delivers a bouncy, seemingly happy song, yet is she not happy about staying the same? This comes from her debut EP, Debut EP Never Too Far From A Dark Thought I love her voice. The beginning of Doctor Says by Midnight Sister reminds me of, well I’m not quite sure. The same goes for the rest of the album, Painting The Roses. This is well produced and I feel I should not question all the effort that went into it. Lovely artwork too. Adam, Char & Kieran are just three people from the North of England trying to make a nice noise so if ur ears love it we love you, they say collectively as Hinata. They also let us know their So Far EP was recorded during 2020 lockdown in a bedroom. It would also seem these Leeds-based people don’t really want to be saddled with one genre because they use these monikers, dream pop, shoegaze, goths, whatever, lofi, dream pop music to dance around your bedroom too. Where’s Home? is from an excellent EP. “I didn’t trust anyone adult,” claims Nana Yamato, “even my parents”. She says, “As a 20-year old I walk the streets of Tokyo like a superhero incognito. By day, I’m an ordinary girl who marches anonymously between her flat, her school and her job. But by night, when the world gets quiet, and the demands of education and employment have subsided, I become something else.” Listen to her If from her LP, Before Sunrise and you decide. Fascinating video for this track. Glasgow’s Octo Trax put out quality music and here is a perfect example, Plenty Of Me (Original Mix) by Amber Leith. Danny Igoe is Amber Leith. The Plenty Of Me EP has 3 superb cuts with a cool minimal remix by Octo Trax co-founder, Poly800. Stellar work. You gotta love the name, Bored At My Grandmas House. One can presume that Amber Strawbridge was not in fear of upsetting her grandma. You’ll hear Showers and Sometimes I Forget You’re Human Too from the Leeds-based artist on the excellent Clue Records, a label I suggest you check out. Keep an eye out for Bored At My Grandmas House. Next, we dash on down to the South of France to hear from Ceikaba Meets Handyman with The Truth. Ceikaba a singer born in Marseille says she discovered music as a child with the violin. Then, years later, she decided to try the experience of living for and through music accompanied by her guitar and her voice. Listen closely, see if you can hear join as I segue into Dub The Truth. This one is available on HFD Records out of Avignon, France. There is so much to talk about with Ian Sweet and Drink The Lake. First up, Ian Sweet is Jillian Medford from LA, her LP, Show Me How You Disappear comes out in March and I’m recommending you investigate it. This note came with the LP, “Show Me How You Disappear is the sound of someone coming apart and putting themselves back together — the moment an old mantra, repeated into the mirror time and time again, finally clicks. To look at your reflection, and finally feel seen.” The video for Drink The Lake begins with Jillian laying in pitch-black water, it looks as if she is wearing a school uniform, tie, white shirt, and jacket, then the scene cuts to daylight with Jillian and a group of boys fighting, all dressed in black suits, white shirts, and black ties – maybe they are not in school uniform? – It’s a series of disturbing scenes, especially when the chanteuse looks knowingly into the camera. Julinko is the music project of Giulia Parin Zecchin from Treviso, Italy. Her LP is No Destroyer, you’ll hear the title cut. Yes, it’s slightly off-kilter, Giulia says she “oscillates between ancient melodies and disquieting distortions” and adds, “I recorded it myself during a one-week session at home, during the first lockdown. It is brief and authentic and somehow, impersonal, beyond me: that’s why I need to share it, to give something back”. Over in Brooklyn, we find Charlotte Rose Benjamin with Back To The Future. “Written in a state of isolation and born out of a sense of anxiety common to many of us in recent months”, Charlotte says. “When I was maybe 7 I watched the movie Back to the Future with my dad and the scene where Marty McFly is on stage at the school dance playing guitar and his fingers start going see-through and he keeps looking at this photo of him standing with his family and he’s slowly fading out of because he went back in time and (spoiler) almost prevented his parents from ever getting together scared the shit out of me and I made my dad turn it off and didn’t see the ending for years. The idea of having ~never existed~ was horrifying to me. A few months into quarantine I realized that’s exactly how I felt. I moved back into my parent’s house and sometimes it was hard to believe that anything in my adult life had ever even happened. Depression has a way of making you feel like you have always been sad and will always be sad. I also liked the irony of “Back to the Future” as a title in one of the darkest times in American History wherein moments I truly thought we were facing the apocalypse and any notion of “the future” was so unclear”. I want to hear more from Charlotte Rose Benjamin. Taking us up to the close, a tasty slice of Drum and Bass from famed Swiss D & B duo, QZB. We Pretend (Ft. Charli Brix) is from their Clairvoyant EP. Expertly crafted dismissing the critiques of D & B who argue it is an out-of-date genre. Far from it, QZB and others are making music you need to hear. 

LEM Vol 219 Playlist

  1. Amber Jay – Stay The Same
  2. Midnight Sister – Doctor Says
  3. Hinata – Where’s Home?
  4. Nana Yamato – If
  5. Amber Leith – Plenty Of Me (Original Mix)
  6. Bored At My Grandmas House – Showers
  7. Bored At My Grandmas House – Sometimes I Forget You’re Human Too
  8. Ceikaba Meets Handyman – The Truth
  9. Ceikaba Meets Handyman – Dub The Truth
  10. Ian Sweet – Drink The Lake
  11. Julinko – No Destroyer
  12. Charlotte Rose Benjamin – Back To The Future
  13. QZB – We Pretend (Ft. Charli Brix)

About the artwork for this volume: Paulette Wilder 1980 – 2020 “Hello #3” 2008 6’8” x 6’8” Emulsion base with colored dyes on plasterboard. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection