Tag Archives: New Music

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

The Valentine’s Special – Life Elsewhere Music Vol 220

Everyone has a few favorite love songs, don’t they? Yet, when it really comes to narrowing your choice down to just one song, it’s far more difficult. We choose love songs for different reasons, falling in love, being in love, and falling out of love. As time moves along favorites change, for our Valentine’s Special my curated selection of love songs features old favorites, a couple of classics, and a few brand new releases. All of these cuts you will hear evoke for me the essence of love in its many delicious forms. To begin, one of the sweetest voices ever, the one and only, Cornel Campbell with Girl Of My Dreams. The Kingston, Jamaica-born singer’s falsetto is truly a stand-out amongst the legion of reggae artists. Cornel’s 1972 hit sounds as perfect now as it did back then, the same has to be said of Deep Shadows by Little Ann. Originally from Chicago, Ann Bridgeforth had a short-lived recording career, in 1967 she recorded Deep Shadow in Detroit, but it was not released and was almost lost to history. It was released as a single in the early 80s but finally caught wide attention via a Soul compilation in 1998. Then, with the release of some of her music, Little Ann performed to great acclaim in the UK, shortly before her death in 2003. Irish singer-songwriter, Miranda McCarthy released From Loving You in November of last year. Since then, it has been repeatedly on my playlist. Brutal Hearts from the 2010 album, Light The Horizon by Toronto-based, Bedouin Soundclash features Coeur De Pirate, AKA Canadian artist, Béatrice Martin. You are missing out if you have not explored her music and videos. Awww, just listen to those lyrics, Are you the brutal heart that I’ve been looking for. Cause if you’re looking for love, you can look for that door. Next up, the late Ivan Kral with Crazy About You, the Prague-born songwriter and musician came to major attention in America as part of The Patti Smith Group. Ivan played guitar, bass, and keyboards, appearing on all of her early records (including the seminal Horses), and was involved in writing a number of her songs (he co-wrote “Dancing Barefoot” one of Smith’s pivotal tunes). One of reggae’s more distinctive voices, Horace Andy gives us his version of the Diana Ross hit, Love Hangover. The 1983 release is essential for any reggae lovers’ collection. My 12’ version of Lovers Rock by Love Trio is dated, 2000, but there have been a number of versions and remixes released since then. Ilhan ErsahinJesse MurphyKenny Wollesen along with samples from U Roy produced a love song you can dance around the kitchen to. Maybe it was isolation and all the problems that came along with Covid that resulted in such an abundance of incredible releases. Without a doubt, one of my big favorites from the last year is Crème Brûlée from King Hannah. It’s sexy, it’s hot, it’s a love song! Sometimes a talented singer-songwriter comes along, drops a song or two then vanishes for a while. When I first heard Thunder from Rosie Peppin I said I want to hear more from this UK artist. Rosie, I still want to hear more from you, please. Thunder is such a painfully, knowing love song. Canadian musician and poet, Barzin is a master of knowing love songs. He has written so many beautiful lyrics, I could honestly fill a whole show with the man’s plaintive work. Barzin knows exactly how to touch all those confusing emotions of love. In Soft Summer Girls, he is reflective yet although quietly despondent, he is not despairing. At the last count, I have going over one hundred and fifty versions of possibly, one of the gut-wrenching love songs ever written, Love Will Tear Us Apart. Susanna & The Magical Orchestra takes the Joy Division song and remolds it into a song that is so icy-cold, its almost hard to listen to without allowing the tears to flow. Keep the tears flowing with The Sundays haunting version of Wild Horses. I’ve always considered this to be such a moving love song and certainly, Gram Parsons’s version does just that. Vocalist Harriet Wheeler’s fragile-sounding voice goes further, underneath the pathos, she is angry, she’s pissed off and the band’s accompaniment helps to get that mood across. Fragility could be used to describe the overtones of the many recordings from Jacobites. Both Dave Kusworth and Nikki Sudden have now passed, musicians who flirted with the edgy-side of life, never diminishing their fondness for drugs and booze. Yet, beyond their deliberately-wasted image, they wrote and performed exceptional love songs. Listen to It’ll All End Up In Tears again and again. When I first heard I’ll Never Let You Go (Li’l Darlin’) I remember doing a double-take. Elvis Presley’s croon was a magnificent thing. Oh, what a voice and with such ease, he emotes, then without warning the song shifts into a rockabilly finish. I make no excuses, Elvis lured me into loving rock ’n’ roll. This song was written by Jimmy Wakely and recorded at Sun Studios in Memphis, September 1954 (some sources cite August). Truly one of Presley’s most magical recordings. A big tip of the hat to the accompanying musicians, Scotty Moore and Bill Black. We close The Valentines Special with Here’s Where The Story Ends brilliantly reworked by huge favorites at Life Elsewhere, Hannah, and Olly AKA Pela. The duo take on The Sundays’ classic is mesmerizing. Hanna’s voice not only proves what range she has but also proves she knows how to read and interpret beautiful lyrics. While Olly demonstrates his skill as a producer has to be revered. Let me know what you think of this mix of love songs, tell me what your favorite love song is?

Norman B

Playlist

  1. Cornel Campbell – Girl Of My Dreams
  2. Little Ann – Deep Shadows
  3. Miranda McCarthy – From Loving You
  4. Bedouin Soundclash – Brutal Hearts (Ft Coeur de Pirate)
  5. Ivan Kral – Crazy About You
  6. Horace Andy – Love Hangover
  7. Love Trio – Lovers Rock
  8. King Hannah – Crème Brûlée
  9. Rosie Peppin – Thunder
  10. Barzin – Soft Summer Girls
  11. Susanna & The Magical Orchestra – Love Will Tear Us Apart
  12. The Sundays – Wild Horses
  13. Jacobites – It’ll All End Up In Tears
  14. Elvis Presley – I’ll Never Let You Go (Li’l Darlin’)
  15. Pela – Here’s Where The Story Ends

About the artwork for this volume: Jamie Lewis “Lovers #5” 2019 3′ x 3′ lithograph and screenprint on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 220

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

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 218

Hello there, something a little different in this volume, it’s all music, non-stop for 60 minutes. The past week has been a bit of a strain on my vocal cords. Many Zoom interviews, a number of long, complicated voice-over reads, plus chatting on the phone and shouting at willfully-ignorant pundits on cable TV shows. So, when it came time to produce volume 218 of Life Elsewhere Music, I tried doing my usual ad-libbing but my croaky voice just doesn’t cut it. OK, wait for a few hours, gargle with a mixture of honey, lemon, and warm water, but time wasn’t on my side. We have to send the finished show out to our affiliate stations so they can upload it to their servers. Because of different time zones and upload schedules we are always working a couple of days before airtime. The result, no voice-over comments about the music from me, instead, you can read exactly what I would have spluttered into the microphone here…

In this, volume 218 of Life Elsewhere Music a stack of new music, plus I dig back into my archives to demonstrate how some music stands up to the test of time. As you listen try to match the year a song was released. We begin with Moosefrog a duo out of Helsinki, Finland. Their superb 2005 downtempo LP, Come was essential listening for me back then. It could be the sparse quirky vocals that make Sixshooter the cut I selected sounds so “now”. I would bet that NYC-based producer, Charlie Nieland will agree. The segue into Divisions from his new album of the same name proves my point. Charlie knows all about the right sound, after all, he is well known for his work with Blondie, Rufus Wainwright, Dead Leaf Echo, Debbie Harry, and more. Oui Plastique is next with Failure, this will be the lead single from their forthcoming debut album, Fraternity of Strangers. Oui Plastique is Martin Nyrup and James Thomas, they say Failure deals with themes of loss and hopelessness. We are looking forward to hearing more from these two smart musicians. Without you noticing, I segued into Nocturnal from Black Needle Noise with Helena Mamich. Serious trainspotters will recognize the name John Fryer who started his career in 1979 at London’s Blackwing Studios and soon began working with seminal bands on 4AD, Mute, Rough Trade, and Beggars Banquet, including Depeche Mode, The Wolfgang Press, and Cocteau Twins. His achievement in helping develop the latter’s pioneering ethereal and ambient sound ultimately led Ivo Watts-Russell to recruit Fryer as his partner for This Mortal Coil. It should be noted that Fryer’s imprint is impressive, having shaped the sound of bands from Nine Inch Nails and Cocteau Twins to HIM. Croatian-Australian soprano, Helena Mamich joins on Nocturnal. Another collaboration I’m eager to hear more from. The next cut is a curio I like to play to see people’s reactions. Its French singer, songwriter, and actor, Benjamin Biolay with Little Darlin’. This comes from his excellent 2003 LP, Négatif. Benjamin cleverly sampled The Carter Family from a 1931 recording. I promise you’ll want to hear this one again, and again. Biolay has new(ish) album which I’ll try to get on a future volume. It happens, every so often a band comes along I like so much I want you to hear more than one cut. Subsonic Eye is from Singapore, I know little about them, I’d like to give them all a namecheck. All I could find is they say “Just 5 friends jamming” and they have a cute video for one of their songs. You’ll hear, Fruitcake and Kaka The Cat from their LP, Nature Of Things. Another one from my archives is next, we go back to 2005 to enjoy Le Volume Courbe with I Killed My Best Friend, this is French-born, London-based singer-producer, Charlotte Marionneau, AKA Charlotte Courbe. She released a new album last year, 14 Years on Honest Jon’s Records. I really do wish my voice hadn’t given out, I wanted to talk up Emperor Of Ice Cream. What a great name! John ‘Haggis’ Hegarty (vocals), Graham Finn (guitar), Edward Butt (bass), and Colum Young (drums) are out of Cork, Ireland, these lads prove they know how to construct and perform a good solid pop/rock song on It’s Alright To Show Yourself. Their debut album, No Sound Ever Dies is certainly worth investigating. From the beautiful Emerald Isle, we dash on over to London where Surya a talented fellow says in a message to me, “I am an independent artist from London and I wanted to share with you a track I’ve just released called U Me We. This track means a lot to me as it talks about my upbringing in Chennai, relocation to London, and taking baby steps towards building a legacy”. Surya, thank you for sharing your music. Beautifully crafted. Dare I say, you seemed to have managed to cross that divide that London-based female artists have had a hold on for a while now. I wanna give a namecheck here, but if you listen back to Life Elsewhere Music shows, you’ll pick up the reference. Good work! Tashaki Miyaki says, “We are a Los Angeles-based rock band and we are happy you’re here”. I’m happy we found Gone. Their album, Castaway comes out in April. So well produced is this one. I wanna hear this in rotation on lots of radio stations, everywhere. Sympathetic Magic is the 5th studio album from Portland, Oregon-based Typhoon. I selected Room Within The Room because it touched me. Then again, many of the songs here captured my attention. All the songs were written by Kyle Morton, he is ably assisted by Toby Tanabe, Dave Hall, Pieter Hilton, Alex Fitch, Tyler Ferrin, Devin Gallagher, Shannon Steele. Quality. With Florian Schäffer on acoustic drums, e-drumpads, spring drum; Ismail Özgentürk on kalimba; Henning Rice on Minimoog, prophet 08 you have, The Von Duesz with Diesel from the 2012 LP, Garant. Splendid music. Play loud. Taking us to the close of this volume a cut that has not dated, it also showcases such a stellar line-up it’s almost illegal not to include it occasionally in a playlist. Released in September 1974, I Can Feel The Fire was the first cut on Ronnie Wood’s solo album, I’ve Got My Own Album To Do. Recorded at The Wick Ronnie’s then home in Richmond, (now owned by Pete Townsend I believe) with my dear departed art school friend, Ian McLagan on organ, Willie Weeks on bass, Andy Newmark on drums, Ross Henderson & Sterling on steel drums, Keith Richards on guitar and vocals, percussion, Mick Jagger on vocals and Ronnie on lead vocals, guitar, percussion, David Bowie is also said to be on the track. What a marvelous song! Sing along and wiggle yer bum around to this gem.

Do let me know what you think of this volume. Hopefully, my voice will be in better shape for the next volume of Life Elsewhere Music.

LEM Vol 218 Playlist

  1. Moosefrog – Sixshooter
  2. Charlie Nieland – Divisions
  3. Oui Plastique – Failure
  4. Black Needle Noise with Helena Mamich – Nocturnal
  5. Benjamin Biolay – Little Darlin’
  6. Subsonic Eye – Fruitcake
  7. Subsonic Eye – Kaka The Cat
  8. Le Volume Courbe – I Killed My Best Friend
  9. Emperor Of Ice Cream – It’s Alright To Show Yourself
  10. Surya – U Me We
  11. Tashaki Miyaki – Gone
  12. Typhoon – Room Within The Room
  13. The Von Duesz – Diesel
  14. Ron Wood – I Can Feel The Fire

The artwork for this volume: David Larkin “Then Again” 2007 6′ x 6′ (detail) acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 218

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 215

Thank goodness superb new music keeps arriving at Life Elsewhere Towers, after being in isolation for months on end and our world seemingly falling to pieces what with Covid and an insurrection attempt at the United States Capitol building, it’s a welcome reminder that there are creative people out there proving that many of us are not full of hate. In this volume of Life Elsewhere Music you’ll enjoy sixty minutes of carefully curated cuts beginning with Rob Merz, a musician out of Chicago who goes by the curious name of Static in Verona. Rob’s EP Darken Your Door proves he knows how to make emotionally-framed songs with a big loud backdrop. We like all three cuts, but the title track is our favorite. Next up, a fellow who says, “I don’t have any musical training, just some guitars and a heart full of soul” His LP, Hills And Homes take us on a journey through some familiar DIY sounds, with lyrics that will require another and another listen. Is he pissed off, is he being snarky? Not sure it matters, ‘cause the end result is entertaining. His name is Perel (we probably mispronounced his name) he is based in Israel and the cut we chose is Curls. What a delight to receive intriguing music from Sofia, Bulgaria courtesy of Mostly Harmless. Their debut EP, Echo suggests this six-piece band should not be overlooked. Strawberry Milkshake, the track you’ll hear features the added vocals of Dimi Georgiev who takes the song in a surprising turn. Kudos to @lundaze for the artwork. Singer-songwriter Uma says she is based between London and Barcelona and Bring Me The Mountain (featuring Lucy Lu) was written while in confinement, adding, “I never thought we’d live through a pandemic, watch the world go mad, have to fight for what is right again (and again), through the fear, despite the violence of thousands of years of oppressive systems, feel infinitely connected and lonely at the same time.” We suggest you check out more cuts from Uma. There is something about Molly Payton’s voice and attitude that comes across on Warm Body that implies she has been immersed in appreciating some of the great female rock ’n’ rollers. Raised in Aukland, now based in London, we are looking forward to more from Molly. Music from Dar es Salaam is next by Jamaica Mnanda with Masikini Naye Mtu (Troels B-Knudsen Dub). The translation is  The Poor are Also People. A lot of information came with this one, for example, the Mchiriku style of Jamaica is unique to Dar es Salaam. Made up of a singer, drums, chair, maracas, and Casio keyboard player, the band regularly plays on the streets of Dar es Salaam. The group is renowned for setting up a string of horn speakers spread down the street, amplifying their sound across the neighborhood. And, Troels B-Knudsen is something of an illustrious figure in the electronic music scene of his native Copenhagen. Shayon Brown has been rapping since she hit her teens, the Nigeria-born South London emcee goes by the moniker, Shaybo. On Dobale she uses the Yoruba slang of her heritage and Dobale refers to a “gesture of respect”. You may want to put this cut on repeat play because it is so irresistible. “Widescreen minimal alt-folk, with a touch of Americana” is how Guy Weir describes the music he makes as The Kindling. The London-based musician probably doesn’t know we try to avoid labels and genres, but we are certainly pleased to have discovered, Flesh And Blood. You’ll hear the slow version and you’re advised to check out the fast version. Lost Map is a label we highly recommend you make a point of investigating, there you will find London-based French singer-songwriter, Clémentine March who is on their roster with her second album, From Songs of Resilience. The eclectic artist says she recorded this over two days in November last year and it’s only her and an acoustic guitar. Into The Distance is a fine example of Clémentine’s work. From Lockhart, Texas–a small town lost in time—we find Natalie Ribbons & Jason Chronis who perform as Tele Novella with Never from their LP, Merlynn Belle. After enjoying their album, this is an outfit we would like to see live. From Philadelphia it’s Holidaykiss with Crossing who says their EP, Once And Future is about self-discovery, and acknowledging the pains of one’s past. We suspect this was not recorded in a super-expensive studio and we love it. The next one was recorded during the Covid-19 stay-at-home order in Washington state, says Moon Palace. Faultlines is the title, the first single off their new EP. The line up is Cat Biell – vocals & guitar, Carrie Biell – vocals & bass, Gabriel Molinaro- synth, and Jude Miqueli – drums. We think they have demonstrated a knack for writing and performing appealing pop songs. More, please! You’ll get out of breath watching Holly Humberstone’s video for Overkill where she keeps on running while strumming her guitar. This talented singer-songwriter from Lincolnshire doesn’t mess around in the lyrics department, “A couple more tequilas, And I’ll tell you how I’m feeling, Don’t wanna kill your evening, Don’t wanna be a buzzkill If I’m coming on strong”. Her EP is Falling Asleep At The Wheel and deserves your attention. Over in Sacramento Brianna Carmel and Josiah Masteller-Defiance, aka Blooming Heads modestly say their music is “Indie emo whatever”. Their slightly self-effacing label underplays a smart ability to construct excellent music. Make sure you check out all three songs on The Background EP. We selected Axis Access. Good stuff! Sarah Bates spent months in the jungles of Thailand, then returned to the lockdown in the UK and used all the video she had shot to make a movie. Burning With Love is part of the soundtrack from the LP, Khoa Rop. Even without the visuals, this is an impressive collection of music. 

A word about the artwork we have been using for recent volumes of Life Elsewhere Music. I have been collecting artwork for years, all of it by artists I have discovered, some have become better known than others. The collection has grown over the years to be larger than the wall space I currently have to display it. So, I decided to share my good fortune in being able to have such a wonderful collection. The images selected have no connection to the music, yet it’s interesting how many listeners have chosen to give their interpretations. Thank you for your input. I’m always interested in what you have to say. Send your thoughts to normanb@lifelesewhere.co 

LEM Vol 215 Playlist

  1. Static In Verona – Darken Your Door
  2. Perel – Curls
  3. Mostly Harmless – Strawberry Milkshake
  4. Uma – Bring Me The Mountain (ft Lucy Lu)
  5. Molly Payton – Warm Body
  6. Jamaica Mnanda – Masikini Naye Mtu (Troels B-Knudsen Dub)
  7. Shaybo – Dobale
  8. The Kindling – Flesh And Blood (Slow Version)
  9. Clementine March – Into The Distance
  10. Tele Novella – Never
  11. Holidaykiss – Crossing
  12. Moon Palace – Faultlines
  13. Holly Humberstone – Overkill
  14. Blooming Heads – Axis Access
  15. Sarah Bates – Burning With Love

The artwork for this volume is by Skip Mathewson “A good gun is a broken gun” 1989 4’ x 4’ Giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 215

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