Tag Archives: New Music

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 250

In this volume Life Elsewhere Music we travel all over the world for a healthy dose of new releases, Brisbane, Seattle, Vancouver, BC, London, Stoke-on-Trent, Sheffield, Glasgow, Richmond, Virginia, Melbourne, and the delightful British seaside town of Hastings. Our 60-minute world tour demonstrates the abundance of exceptional new releases from all over the globe. We begin in London with The Games We Play label managed effectively by Antony O’Loughlin. First up, it’s the startlingly good, Damage Meter by Monkid. From the instant you hear the rapid-fire chant of “Gimmie! Gimmie! Gimmie!” you know this is going to be one you’ll want to play again and again. We follow up with Cybermilk who give us the impressive Altered States from the EP of the same name, also on The Games We Play. These two cuts should prompt you to delve into the TGWP catalog. Special note, the name is usually stylized as “† ŦĦ€ ǤΔΜ€Ş Ŵ€ ƤŁΔ¥ †.” Austen, based in Brisbane gives us The Fire and says she is, “I’m just a down-to-Mars girl learning 2 be human.” Adding, The Fire is about living on the line between volatile and steady, in a sweet spot of intensity. I wanted it to sound otherworldly, as a reflection of that feeling”. Make sure you check out the pleasing promotional video on her website. Also in Brisbane is the lovely Mammal Sounds imprint, where you’ll find a fellow who goes by the moniker of Lemonade Baby. His new release, Is It Too Late poses an important question that Mr. Lemonade sums up with this, “Put simply, this song about the feeling of instant regret and the guilt you feel when you hurt someone you love. You wish you could undo what you said or done but you can’t. So, make sure you apologize when you’re wrong and understand that no one is perfect, and people will fuck up!” Not going to argue with that, but we should give kudos where due, this is one great production. We’ve been hearing good reports about The Kundalini Genie even before we heard, Half In, Half Out from their LP of the same name. “You gotta see The Kundalini Genie live!” Yelled a friend from Glasgow who had the opportunity to see the band strut their stuff on stage. “Effing great band!” He shouted via Zoom, as spittle fogged up his camera. He sent me a video, from what I can see, I agree! Next, A Ritual Sea is Donna McCabe and Florian Chombart, Season (Like You) is from their terrific self-titled album. Donna does all the vocals and Florian composed and recorded the music. They are on Icy Cold Records out of Paris and you advised to make the effort to check their work out. Enchanting! Over in one of my favorite cities, Vancouver, British Columbia you’ll find Haleluya Hailu. Breakfast from her debut Greetings And Salutations EP, it’s an honest and admirable collection of songs. Haleluya did the vocals, mixing, and production, Frederick Bantoe joins her on vocals. She says, “My EP was Inspired by the sounds of the 80s but also nothing like it”. Adding, “I’m a pasta-loving curly-haired teenage music person based in Vancouver, BC. To my parents’ dismay, I make songs about being sad, other teenagers making me sad, and how I miss parties.” Apologies to Haleluya Hailu for pronouncing your name in a variety of ways. My producer tried to correct me as we were recording. As we only do one take for the show, we had to keep in my mess-ups. Sorry. Your EP is Fabulous! Kate Bollinger is out of Richmond, Virginia, she has a song called Shadows. There is a lovely trippy video to accompany that Shadows. Make sure you listen carefully to this one. Workhorse is from the LP, Gap Tooth from Jaala. This Melbourne-based three-piece is fronted by the enigmatic Cosima Jaala, who delivers bold and plaintive vocals with jaggedly syncopated guitar lines, alongside textural and elastic rhythms prodigiously executed by drummer Maria Moles and otherworldly synth palettes generated by electronic artist Fia Fiell. Nice artwork, too. Chris Anderson, Ellie Shepherd, Gareth Hughes, Taran Ali, Nic Bowden, and J Palindrones together are New Ghost. Trust me, they make excellent well-constructed new music as you will hear on the marvelous, Burning Out. New Ghost are from Sheffield, all the money raised from their EP Mono No Aware will be donated to Sheffield Women’s Aid. Top Marks! It really is a change to hear music coming from Seattle that cannot easily be credited as a Pacific Northwest sound. Bad Optics are Christian Smith, Max Stephens, Stephanie Jones, and Joshua Ihler who seem intent on making music they are comfortable with instead of clinging onto an obvious bandwagon. Beach Front Property from their double-sided single is more than a rant, this is an angry commentary. The words cover the sleeve. A good ‘un! While you are paying attention to lyrics, listen up for the next one, “Dyed my hair, refused to eat to stay cool!” Teenage angst in all its glory from HotWax a genuinely impressive trio from Hastings on England’s south coast. There is a back story behind this one I’d like to share with you. My friend Martin Sayers, messaged me with an update about his son Alfie. Alfie has joined a new band, do you want to hear them?” He asked. Of course, I said yes. Honestly, I had forgotten that at the age of six, Alfie was already bashing away on a junior kit making a jolly good racket. Now that one-time little blond-haired scamp is 18 and working out behind a grown-up kit and the smart chap has joined up with two remarkable young ladies, both seventeen, Tallulah on lead vocals and lead guitar, Lola on Bass and vocals. On first listen, I will admit to being excited by their efforts, then Martin sent me a couple of videos. We have to get HotWax on the show I insisted to my producer. HotWax has more music to check out, go to the link and enjoy! Sadly, as the last volume of LEM was going out, news came in that reggae legend, Lee Scratch Perry had passed. It really is difficult to explain in a few sentences to impact and influence of Perry on not only reggae but all popular music. Quite simply, Lee Perry made over many years, so many ground-breaking releases. Included here is a cut from his Arkology LP, Curly Locks. Rest In Peace, Upsetter.

Playlist

  1. Monkid – Damage Meter
  2. Cybermilk – Altered States
  3. Austen – The Fire
  4. Lemonade Baby – Is It Too Late
  5. The Kundalini Genie – Half In, Half Out
  6. A Ritual Sea – Seasons (Like You)
  7. Haleluya Hailu – Breakfast
  8. Kate Bollinger – Shadows
  9. Jaala – Workhorse
  10. New Ghost – Burning Out
  11. Bad Optics – Beach Front Property
  12. HotWax – Stay Cool
  13. Lee Perry – Curly Locks

Artwork by Jules Aainsley-Welsh “Once upon a time we used little silver discs for entertainment” 2021 36” x 38” photo print on hardboard

LEM Vol 250

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 248

Another week, and another avalanche of exceptional new music. And, the passing of Charlie Watts. So much to digest. 

Volume 248 begins with a new single from the exuberant Alexander Leonard Donat, the entrepreneurial Berlin-based creator of Blackjack Illuminist Records, elementary school teacher, marathon runner, and talented musician known as Vimmer. How the man summons up enough energy to make cleverly arranged new music is anyone’s guess. Vimmer’s new album is, Nebenkörper, the single is Kartenwarten. You are advised to investigate the Blackjack Illuminist catalog. Weather Vane is about the hope that remains even when things are falling apart”, say, Graham Finn, Eddie Butt, Calum Young, and John “Haggis” Hegarty who together are Emperor Of Ice Cream. Almost 30 years after forming, they have finally released their debut album No Sound Ever Dies via FIFA Records. We’ve played EOIC on the show before, ‘cause we like what they are doing. Over in Brighton on England’s south coast you may spot Nicolas Pierre Wardell wandering near the pier when he is not busy producing himself as Beatastic or releasing fine recordings on his Shoredive Records label. The latest Beatastic EP is Refraction, the cut you’ll hear is, Echoes Through The City. Here is another enterprising chap with a label you need to take notice of. Aimee Van der Kruik and Juliana Ebert out of Australia, go by the name Love Level. The popish sensibilities of Do This To Me has a darker overtone suggesting that Olly Shelton of Pela was behind the mixing desk. That’s not the case, but it could be an interesting idea. I admit to having a fascination with the city of Toronto. In part, it could be such a lot of cool new music originates from there. My recent discovery of the Hand Drawn Dracula label has certainly increased my appreciation of the metropolis beyond the Kensignton market and The Hockey Hall of Fame. Breeze is Josh Korody and Kyle Connolly, their LP Only Up was written, recorded, and mixed in 8 days in February of this year. We selected the title cut featuring Tess Parks. The project was funded in part by FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Quite simply, lovely work. Next up on the French label, Komplex Recording is Cravism & Maya Diegle with It’s Okay. Maya hails from Paris and initially trained as a jazz singer, she met Singaporean producer Cravism several years ago and fell in love with his music, and sought out a collaboration. Cravism was equally impressed with Maya’s capacity for writing high-level melodies, harmonies, and lyrics. Drum & Bass, after all this time still has not made it into the mainstream. Alternative radio most often ignores it and college radio will tuck it away on a specialty show. That’s too bad because there have been many extraordinary releases over the years and there can be no doubt of the influence of Drum & Bass, yet the big stars out of the UK remain as only slight twinkles here in the US of A. Take a serious listen to Fox with Lion Ting from the LP, Squang Dangs In The Key Of Vibes. Fox, highly rated in the UK, especially in his hometown of Manchester where he was born, he grew up in Jamaica but is now based back in Manchester. Excellent production and graphics. We stay in the UK to hear from Joy Orbison with Better featuring Léa Sen. His debut album, Still Slipping Vol 1, is on the Toss Portal imprint – a portal of toss run by Joy Orbison, according to the info I received. Secrets Held is the third single from London-based producer, Charles Webster’s highly-acclaimed 2020 album, Decision Time. This cut features French-American singer, Emille Chick. Charles Webster has been operating in-house music since the mid-’80s, releasing music over the years under 30 different pseudonyms with over 500 remixes. Superb music. I love inventive or quirky names, so of course, Grubby Little Hands caught my attention. Donnie Felton, Brian Hall, Joseph Primavera, and Chad Brown are out of Philadelphia and I’m presuming these lads had fun making Surf Lullaby. Looking forward to hearing more from the delightfully-named, Grubby Little Hands. The last cut in this volume is a curio, it’s Heft with Ember featuring Lyli J. Heft is producer Zwel Mun Wint based in Yangon, Myanmar. He says his album, Hermitage is based on everyday-life situations that give the impressions of simplicity that hold deep feelings and thoughts”. He adds, “This is a journey through spirituality and stoicism, which involves all aspects of our being – intellect, imagination, sensibility, and – essentially our body, mind, and soul”. Nothing to argue with there. Over on my talk show. Life Elsewhere #438, you’ll find a conversation about the recent passing of Charlie Watts and the art of drumming with another acclaimed drummer, Martin Atkins. Enjoy.

Playlist

  1. Vimmer – Kartenwarten
  2. Emperor Of Ice Cream – Weather Vane
  3. Beatastic – Echoes Through The City
  4. Love Level – Do This To Me
  5. Breeze – Only Up (feat. Tess Parks)
  6. Cravism & Maya Diegle – It’s Okay
  7. Fox – Lion Ting (prod by Lenzman)
  8. Joy Orbison – Better (with Lea Sen)
  9. Charles Webster (ft. Emille Chick) – Secrets Held
  10. Grubby Little Hands – Surf Lullaby
  11. Heft – Ember (feat. Lyli J)

Artwork by Ms. Annie 1932 – 1999 “The Devil Beating His Wife” (detail) circa 1990 – 1996 25.1/2” x 54.3/4” House paint on reclaimed wood panel. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

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 245

What a lot of exceptional new music continues to arrive at Life Elsewhere Tower. The aftermath of the year of Covid really does appear to have made a major effect on creative talent. (As I write, Covid has not gone anywhere thanks to the ignorance of some of our fellow citizens). We begin with a fine example of quality production from a label that has a catalog you need to investigate, Hand Drawn Dracula Records out of Toronto. The band is Praises, their EP is unassumingly titled, EP4. The cut you’ll hear is A World On Fire. Simply put, a delicious song deserving of repeat plays. Next up, some lads from Essex who have chosen the sly moniker of Don’t Worry. From the example of their EP, Sideways Rain, I’m under the impression a live performance from Don’t Worry would possibly be a rumbunctious, but most enjoyable affair. Doctor Doctor captures a distinctive throwback aura, and that’s a good thing. Harry Stafford of Inca Babies fame and punk-blues veteran, Marco Butcher have never actually met in the flesh. But they are punk soul brothers from the same muddy musical pond. Connecting with one another during a year of ‘lockdown hell’, their exchange of ideas and talk of musical influences inadvertently led to their collaboration. Bone Architecture is the name of their LP, I’ll play the title cut and a splendid cover of Pink Floyd’s 1967 debut single, Arnold Layne. A much-discussed and debated over song that Harry and Marco have no problem reimagining. London-based Loraine James has been on my radar since her 2019 release, For You And I. She is back with Reflection her second album via the superb Hyperdub label. This is Loraine looking back on 2020 with unflinching honesty. She says Reflection is pared down and tells of how last year felt as a young, Black queer woman in a world that suddenly stopped moving. I’ve segued together, Reflection and Self Doubt (Leaving The Club Early). I’m a firm advocate of compilations. They are a perfect way to sample a vast array of new music for the price of an album. Check out, Still Live Vol 1, out of NYC. Apollo Vega with Does Heaven Have WiFi and Insect City with Stardust (not) Loneliness are my selections. Very cool graphics, too. If you buy into the press release for Breadminster County Council Music Initiative then you have probably missed the point. The charmingly named Elijah Minnelli offers us Stats (with a glorious over-the-top Dub on the other side. More investigating is needed to find out who is behind this lark. Talented Anna Vincent admits that she has always struggled with self-doubt. She taught herself guitar at age 14 and then began writing poetry, which developed into songwriting. Although she says, “I wasn’t confident enough to share my work until my early 20s”. Thankfully, Anna has shared her talent, and her LP, Under The Glass is lovely. Listen to Naxos, I have no doubt you’ll agree. Dana Margolin and bandmates do not disappoint on each release. In fact, I’m astonished why Indie radio in the US of A is not playing the shit out of Prrige Radio. Here are two cuts, back to back, a cover of The Shins’, New Slang and Happy In A Crowd. I do believe you can hear Maria Marzaioli of Slum Of Legs on violin in the mix. (Psst, Maria has her own EP coming out soon). Here’s an interesting one, Me Lost Me with Acrobat On The Roof. This is the work of Jayne Dent out of (one of my favorite places), Newcastle-upon-Tyne. About this song, Jayne says, “I imagine it as an interaction between two characters, one taking a break from their work and sitting on a roof and enjoying the view, the other on the ground below passing them, a snippet of a mundane interaction in an imaginary future”. The cut was written and produced by Jayne Dent and features, Faye MacCalman on clarinet and John Pope on double bass. Acrobat On The Roof is from The Circle Dance EP. To take you up to the close, a cut from Duppy Vaulted (2011 – 2021, Jamaican recordings courtesy of LA-based Duppy Gun Records. This compilation they say “Is a ink between amazing producers from all over the world with unique & amazing vocalists from the island & doing our part in trying to reverse a history of exploitation between the states & the Jamaican music world”. Lopo gives us Never Play Dat 2021, Produced by Big Flyte & Genesis Hull. There you have 60 minutes of wonderful music for your listening pleasure. Do make sure you send your feedback to norman b at lifeelsewhere dot co

  1. Praises – A World On Fire
  2. Don’t Worry – Doctor Doctor
  3. Harry Stafford & Marco Butcher – Bone Architecture
  4. Harry Stafford & Marco Butcher – Arnold Layne
  5. Loraine James – Reflections
  6. Loraine James – Self Doubt (Leaving The Club Early)
  7. Apollo Vega – Does Heaven Have WiFi
  8. Insect City – Stardust (not) Loneliness
  9. Elijah Minnelli – Slats
  10. Anna Vincent – Naxos
  11. Porridge Radio – New Slang
  12. Porridge Radio – Happy In A Crowd
  13. Me Lost Me – Acrobat On The Roof
  14. Lopo – Never Play Dat 2021 (Prod. Big Flyte & Genesis Hull

Artwork by Ishi Yamamoto “NYC 12.26.2009″ 2010 24″ x 24” giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 245

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 244 – A Conversation With Anika Pyle

No one can really tell you how it feels. How you will be affected. Grief is immeasurable. Singer-songwriter and spoken word artist, Anika Pyle has bravely produced an album reflecting on the passing of her father. Although she admits it was cathartic, she explains recalling her albeit brief moments with her dad are ever-changing, as her memory plays tricks with reality. Yet, when Anika shares this description of her dad, you know it’s real, “He had long hair. He always had long hair, except for a couple of times when he had to go to court. He was a handsome man”. That is the voice of a daughter, a woman grappling with the loss of a parent.  In Wild River, Anika’s most recent LP she tries to make sense of her father’s sudden death to an overdose. “It’s about loss in general.” She writes,  adding, “We’ve all lost so much this past year – loved ones, jobs, houses, in many ways life as we knew it. By the time the pandemic hit, I was already deep into a grieving process and learned you can’t stubbornly resist a wild, unpredictable, uncontrollable river, no matter how desperately you battle the current.” The honesty of Anika’s words and music caught our attention. A Zoom conversation was arranged, Anika dressed in black, looked photo-shoot-ready as she spoke earnestly into the camera. Her thoughtful responses to questions were bolstered by her natural ability to smile and laugh. Listen carefully, we believe you’ll agree, Anika Pyle is a talent who deserves your attention.  

LEM Vol 244

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