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Life Elsewhere Music Vol 239

 

To curate, a 60-minute show of new music takes on average about a week of listening, not that I’m complaining. Considering how much excellent new music comes my way, it really is an enjoyable occupation. In this volume, we have such a diverse selection, beginning in Brighton on the south coast of England where Nico runs the enterprising Shoredive Record label. The Insatiable Disquiet is his latest project, teaming up with American vocalist Cat Hall of Industrial pioneers Dissonance. Their new EP, Unbidden has a wonderful, familiar feel, yet it’s totally original as you’ll hear on Justify. 50 miles up the road from Brighton in London you’ll find Toby Burroughs on drums & vocals, Tom Jones on bass & vocals, and Rosa Brook on violin & vocals – together they are Pozi. Their Typing EP displays their collective talents with Sea Song. Jot their name down, I expect to hear more from Pozi. Over in Dublin, it appears there must be something in the water because such a lot of creative talent is emanating from that beautiful city. Fronted by vocalist and guitarist Keeley, we have Keeley! Their Brave Warrior EP is dedicated to the memory of Inga Maria Hauser, which we’ll learn more about in our upcoming conversation. We selected, Last Words, expect to hear more cuts from Keeley soon on LEM. Over in Brooklyn, Sem Azhak says, “Hello I’m Sem and this is Semetery it’s nice to meet you”. Sem writes and performs all the songs on the album, I Know It’s A Sore Subject, But These Things Fall Apart, listen to Freckles and you’ll understand why I included Semetery in this volume. In Auckland, New Zealand a fellow by the name of A. Evans uses the moniker, Black Sand for his musical output. The Place You Call Home is from his 8th album Hypnotic Revolutions. Mr. Evans says, Black Sand continues to chart a course through spaced-out psychedelic rock n roll. Put your headphones on and enjoy the ride”. Excellent suggestion. I’ve mentioned it before, I love compilations. Such a good way to get a variety of music in one package. Agreed, not every cut is going to be on repeat play, but I always find at least a couple of cuts worthwhile – sometimes a whole lot more. For example, take a listen to Kongodoom with The City Is A Desert from Here is Minimal City Vol 1 c/o Petite Victory Collective out of Copenhagen. OK, I admit I’m partial to a little minimalist-dubby-electronica. This LP is worth the price of admission. Another comp I want you to know about is 1980 Something – An 80s Cover Comp For No More Dysphoria. This comes courtesy of Heavenly Creature Records out of Scotland who has put together 80s covers by 32 different artists. Importantly, all funds raised will go directly to No More Dysphoria, the album is available on a pay-what-you-want/can basis. No More Dysphoria is a non-profit organization created with the goal of helping transgender individuals pay for major aspects of their transition. From the album you’ll hear, a cover of Bowie’s Modern Love by Regal Cheer, followed by How I Became Invisible with a cover of The Pixies, Where Is My Mind. The name Chris Connelly must trigger recognition to even the most casual music aficionado. Mr. Connelly has a new album, The Birthday Poems spotlighting the centenary of Scottish poet George Mackay Brown. Chris has teamed up with Monica Queen for this adventure. The title cut is included in this volume. Chris Connelly is going to be my guest very soon for an in-depth conversation. So much to talk about with a man who has been involved with such a lot of influential bands and projects. A curiously unassuming LP came my way a few weeks back, Years In Marble by Raoul Vignal. The musician, originally from Lyon is definitely worth your time following up on, Red Fresco being a good example. Josienne Clarke knows what she is doing and what she wants. A short video shows Josienne auditioning guitar players. In the end, the Scottish artist lets us know she wrote and composed the songs, she does the vocals, plays guitar, harmonium, and saxophone, she also arraigned and produced the album, A Small Unknowable Thing. But, we must give a tip of the hat to Dave Hamblett for the smart drumming, along with Matt Robinson on keyboards, Alec Bowman-Clarke on Bass, and Mary Ann Kennedy on Harp. Make sure you listen to Sit Out carefully. Next, the EP In These Times arrived on my desk without much information, except Science Fiction Review are from Austin, Texas and all the tracks are super – e.g. Like A Church. Made up of members Curtis Wakeling (The Ocean Party/Pop Filter) and his partner Kayleigh Heydon, a Visual Artist from the U.K, Deuce is a project out of Melbourne. They say their collaboration enables them to further understand each other’s stories and experiences. The outcome so far is their self-titled album with seemingly effortless songs that underplay well-crafted songs about relationships. There is a knowingness here in each song that could easily be the result of many years of working together, yet the immediacy of their relationship is never in doubt. That Curtis and Kayleigh each take turns in lead vocals proves the confidence they have in their collaboration. Such a good album, it’s hard to choose one cut, we selected, Swim. To close, a fine example of dub production from Tuff Scout out of London with the title cut from the LP, Out On The Floor Dub, is a splendid reworking of The Wailer’s Really For A Reason. Do make sure you let me know what you think of LEM. 

Playlist

  1. The Insatiable Disquiet – Justify
  2. Pozi – Sea Song
  3. Keeley – Last Words
  4. Semetery – Freckles
  5. Black Sand – The Place You Call Home
  6. Kongodoom – The City Is A Desert
  7. Regal Cheer – Modern Love
  8. How I Became Invisible – Where Is My Mind
  9. Chris Connelly & Monica Queen – The Birthday Poems
  10. Raoul Vignal – Red Fresco
  11. Josienne Clarke – Sit Out
  12. Science Fiction Review – Like A Church
  13. Deuce – Swim
  14. Tuff Scout – Out On The Floor Dub

Artwork by D. Chasomè “MJ Sitting #2″ 2001 2′ x 2’6” giclée print on archival paper. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection

LEM Vol 239

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 237

Should I be amazed by the quality of new releases that continue to arrive? Some will say the abundance of excellent new music is a result of musicians being in isolation for a year. That could be part of why there are so many introspective releases. Yet, I also believe there just happens to be a lot of talented people who are making music I think deserves your attention. All the cuts in this volume fit into that category, starting with Suzi Sabotage who hails from Helsinki, Finland. Apparently, Suzi does everything, she sings, plays synths, and writes the songs. Apart from having a moniker I could not resist, Ms. Sabotage charmed me with The World Is A Heartache from her Postmodern Dystopia album. There is an honesty (a word I may repeat) coming to the fore in her work. Paula Borges and Jonathan Skinner know what they are doing and they do it well. As Hanging Freud this couple based in Glasgow has created their own distinctive sound. Yes, of course, there are references (that’s a good thing) but Paula originally from Brazil, and Jonathon from London prove with Puzzles from Persona Normal we need to keep a watchful eye on them. In an effort to deal with childhood trauma and teenage angst, Jen Dajung Kim started writing songs like she was filling a journal. In that journal, she recorded herself ruminating on self-identity, culture, religion, doubt, anger, and love. known professionally as Dajung, was born and raised in the Korean city of Incheon. At twelve, she moved to China and attended an international school, it was there that she acquired her bizarre monicker from her English teacher – Jay Knife – now the title of her album. Untitled showcases Dajung’s poignant songwriting, arranging and performing. I wish I knew more about Husbands and we had more time to plays both cuts from these two lads out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. You’ll hear, Must Be A Cop but I recommend you check out, Burn The Witch. They modestly label themselves as “OKC surf, pop, rock, garage, what have you”. There is a lot going on here that may not be so obvious at first. Listen carefully, then listen again. Luc Seacroft out of East London has been on my radar for some time. Every time he sends a new release, I know I’m in for something, unlike his past work. Luc likes to try new ideas our and I’m all for that. About Promised Land he says, “it’s a very personal song, about facing life’s woes head-on. It rejects the guarantee of a happy ending (or “promised land”) but in doing that, finds some peace”. Again, this is one of those songs you must listen to carefully. The subtle effects and processing Luc uses gives an accomplished sheen to the production. Nice artwork too. Erika Bach lives in Greece. Is it possible that those ancient relics nearby lend an authoritative aura to her work? As Lola Demo the singer-songwriter has been releasing well-crafted music for some time, she is also one half of m1nk with Barry Snaith. Erika’s latest solo LP, Stone is clearly a serious contemplation on all that concerns the artist. I have chosen two cuts to illustrate those concerns, Can’t Live Like This and the title cut, Stone. For each track, she has created a video which you are advised to search out. It should go without saying at this juncture, if Josh Idehen sends us a new release, then you can be sure we will get it on the show and send the word out to all smart radio programmers to do the same. The talented, hard-working Mr. Idehen is back with another collaboration with electronic duo LV. This one is titled Somehow. It’s fabulous and it features Shanaz Dorsett. Now, who likes a cover-version every so often. Here is the first of two in this volume. And, it’s an unlikely one, Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Sweet Whirl & Gregor. Two successful artists out of Australia on Melbourne’s Chapter Music label. Honestly, it’s a bit of a head-scratching choice, yet their dancefloor-ready version is so radically different, you may wonder if your brain is playing tricks with songs you remember. Also on Chapter Music is The Goon Sax out of Brisbane. Formed in 2013, The Goon Sax are James Harrison, Louis Forster, and Riley Jones. Did you catch that name, Louis Forster, yes he is the son of Robert, of The Go-Betweens fame. In The Stone is the cut. Recently I saw a video of a live set by The Goon Sax – I was impressed. OK, onto the second cover in this mix, “We love Peter Gabriel” say Lowland Hum “shortly after having our first child, we decided to cover his 1986 release, So, in its entirety”. (That took me by surprise). Lowland Hum is a minimalist modern folk band based in Charlottesville, Virginia, made up of Daniel and Lauren Goans. The cut you’ll hear is In Your Eyes from their new album, So Low. Interestingly how their arrangements make Gabriel’s songs sound so vulnerable. Is it a coincidence that The Catenary Wires specialize in harmonies and they have a harmonium on their songs? And fine harmonies they are on their album, Birling Gap as heard with Face On The Rail Line. This five-piece hail from Rolvendean, Kent in the southeast of England. When he is not putting us all to shame with his extraordinary stamina running marathons, Alex of Blackjack Illuminist Records out of Berlin is making music and putting out new recordings. His latest release Alex wants you to know about is the LP, Mind Dawns from Distance Dealer. He says, “This is a brand new post-punk/synthwave band I’m also part of. it’s comprising of Vlimmer (me Alex in Germany) and Phantoms vs Fire (Brazil)”. Hit By A Brick is the track I’ve chosen, and I suggest, if you haven’t already, you check out more of Alex’s releases.

Over on the latest Life Elsewhere, you’ll find an interview with David Lowery about his late brother, Ian Lowery who fronted a number of influential bands, including, Ski Patrol, Folk Devils, and The Ian Lowery Group. But before that, Ian was part of The Wall. Dave recently discovered four recordings of The Wall that have until now, never, ever been heard before publicly.

Playlist

  1. Suzi Sabotage – The World Is A Heartache
  2. Hanging Freud – Puzzels
  3. Dajung – Untitled
  4. Husbands – Must Be A Cop
  5. Luc Seacroft – Promised Land
  6. Lola Demo – Can’t Live Like This
  7. Lola Demo – Stone
  8. LV & Josh Idehen – Somehow (Radio Edit)
  9. Sweet Whirl & Gregor – Have You Ever Seen The Rain
  10. The Goon Sax – In The Stone
  11. Lowland Hum – In Your Eyes
  12. The Catenary Wires – Face On The Rail Line
  13. Distance Dealer – Hit By A Brick

Artwork by Ben Sabato “Self Portrait #5” from The Shadow Series 1998 12” x 13” Inkjet on fiber-paper

What Animals May Tell Us About Aliens. A Return Visit With Katherine May.

                                   

Was Arik Kershenbaum’s intent in writing, The Zoologist’s Guide To The Galaxy to make the reader reconsider – everything? To look at our world from a new perspective? “Yes!” the zoologist, College Lecturer, and Fellow at Girton College, Cambridge responds rapidly. His new book will not only make you think, you’ll also find yourself wanting to share your discoveries. Kershenbaum has a quirky, yet delightful knack of setting up a question, answering it, then questioning what you’ve just learned. He is a gifted storyteller who uses colloquialisms and common-day language, while his studious research is paraded before us without a hint of laborious, long-winded academia. The book gallops along at an agreeable speed, yet never once do you feel the author is only giving you a précis of his knowledge. Arik says Scientists are confident that life exists elsewhere in the universe. However, while we often imagine that life on other planets is the stuff of science fiction, the time has come to abandon our fantasies of space invaders and movie monsters and instead place our expectations on a solid scientific footing. Short of aliens landing in New York City, how do we know what they are like? Could there be an alien planet with supersonic animals? A moon where creatures have a language composed of smells? Will aliens scream with fear, act honestly, or have technology? Kirksenbaum draws on his own expert understanding of life on Earth and Darwin’s theory of evolution, which applies throughout the universe to answer these questions and more. The Zoologist’s Guide To The Galaxy is an engrossing book. Arik Kershenbaum will open your eyes to the marvels of our planet and the universe beyond.

Katherine May, author of Wintering: The Power Of Rest And Retreat In Difficult Times returns to the program to talk about where we are now at the second anniversary of the Covid pandemic. Katherine wrote her book before she or we had any knowledge of Covid 19. The unlikely timeliness of her book was and still is remarkable. Katherine has insights into what we have all been going through in the last year, not least of all because she had written a personal narrative about the unexpected. In the conversation, Katherine shares her thoughts about coping and explores the ways we can repair ourselves when life knocks us down.

Over on Life Elsewhere Music Vol 225, talented Liverpool-based duo, King Hannah offers a remarkable cover of Bruse Springsteen’s State Trooper. Plus, sixty minutes of very cool new releases.

Show 415

 

Life Elsewhere Music Vol 222

Honestly, the temptation to go on a rant about the headlines coming across my news feeds almost interrupted me from beginning this post with a jolly, happy paragraph on the marvelous wonders of new releases that landed on my desk this week. Almost! Nah, let’s get everything underway and rave on, starting with Manchester-based Lindsay Munroe. Her new single, Need A Ride caught me tapping my feet along to the comfortable steady drum and bass pattern, then Lindsay’s voice took me by surprise. She sounds so vulnerable, yet as I listened closely, I understood, she is pissed off, “I don’t need someone to take my heat / It’s just me between these sheets / I feel more when I’m alone”. Do yourself a favor, check out Lindsay Munroe’s earlier releases. The beginning of Turn To Dust by Lauren Lakis must be the talented chanteuse manipulating the pitch to give us a somber, moody into more straight-forward rendering. The mood remains throughout though, courtesy of an excellent production. You may pick up on a lot of references here if you listen to Daughter Of Language, her new album. And that’s fine with me. The LP Summerheads And Winter Beds by The Raft once again prove that Nico of Shoredive Records is maintaining quality control for his label. Phil Wilson has been writing recording and performing under the name The Raft since 2003. He brings on board an array of different vocalists, Claire O’Neill sings on There’s No Going Back. The album was produced by Phil and J Pedro and a fine effort they have made. I have no idea how close they are to each other, but Shoredive is located in Brighton on England’s south coast and in the same locale as Jon Jones and posse at Roots Garden Records. Consistently releasing the finest of modern reggae, Free Da Minds by Dark Angel being a fine example. The rhythm here was conjured up by producer Nick Manasseh back in 2007 and named The Levi Rhythm. Nick is back behind the mixing board on this gem, twiddling the knobs for Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka). As a bonus, I segue into Free Dub. Dance music with a message. OK, this is where I will admit to having been severely chastised by my producer for messing up the name YVA. Eva appears to be the correct pronunciation. The EP is titled, Hype Machine, you’ll hear, Fountain Of Youth. Amy Holford is YVA accompanied by Jonathan Hibbert, Martyn Kaine, Anna Pheobe, and Jordan Miller. So impressed was I with YVA, I searched out her acoustic version of her debut release, I Won’t Wait. You can hear that over at Life Elsewhere #413. The London-based artist says, “There’s no fountain of youth, just beautiful untruth” and “I hate that I’m an unwitting sales-person for my self-hate” Love it! Next, we dash back to Shoredive to hear from Air Hunger with Felt Like Dying a cut from the LP, F-I-X-E-R. This is the solo project of Polish musician Dawid Schindler, recorded entirely on his iPhone. Wonderful! There is probably a story behind the album title, How To Weigh a Whale Without a Scale from Léanie Kaleido. But, what I do know for sure is Léanie has captured an intriguing story in All The Things I’m Made Of. The UK-based artist grew up in a musical household, the daughter of The Yardbirds lead guitarist, Top Topham. At the production-desk is Mark Gardener of Ride fame. The Capital of Washington state is an unassuming, often very damp place named rather imperiously, Olympia. It could be argued that Calvin Johnson and his influential indie label, K Records are Olympia’s most celebrated legacy for serious music-lovers. Another fine example of K Records output is the album, Fake Books where we find The Moving Pictures four years after their debut album with three fewer members and eight new songs. Now we have one person, in this case, a poet and his guitar, synths, and a 606. Loved One, a sad song yet a memorable one. And when did you last hear Christopher Isherwood mentioned in a pop song? (This is a co-release with Perennial records, also out of Olympia). And, now to an artist who is unwavering in exposing her insecurities and questions. Yes, Anna B Savage has a remarkable voice and yes, Anna stretches and coaxes her personal instrument to deliver an astonishing range to wrap her provocative lyrics in. Her debut LP, A Common Turn takes the listener on an emotive journey that can only be heard as illicitly peeking into Ms. Savage’s secret diary. But here’s the conundrum, Anna’s words are so private, so intense yet she sounds determined to make sure we hear everything, loud and clear.  “This whole album is about questioning, exploration and trying really fucking hard. Hopefully a vibrator is a good companion for most of these things. To sum it up in two words: wank more,” she writes. You’ll hear two cuts, Corncrakes and Chelsea Hotel #3, listen carefully. Watch the videos. Admire the superb production by William Doyle. If you don’t agree this is an exceptional album, write to me with your thoughts. Both David Long & Shane O’Neill were the singers and main songwriters in two separate Irish 80’spost punk/indie/rock bands. David Long was part of Into Paradise and Shane O’Neill was part of Blue In Heaven. They both come from the same part of Dublin and have known each other since they were about 6 or 7, which goes a long way to explain the symmetry that shines in their new album, Moll & Zeis. The title cut was chosen as it represents just how good this album is. How many years ago was it when I first played the glorious 10” EP Turn To Red by Killing Joke on the radio? It does seem like so long ago, so far away. Not just because I was the first DJ besides Peel to air that extraordinary record, not even because I championed the band for weeks, for months, for years, I’m still excited to hear a new release from anyone involved with the band. What a delight then to receive a new three-track EP from K÷, a unique collaboration between kindred spirits: Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, and Peter Hook. The first two gents part of Killing Joke and Hook of course of Joy Division and New Order fame. Although the name in print is , they ask you say Killing Division. Remembrance Day is the first single, released a few days ago. To take us up to the close of the show, a little taste of Giving Up The Ghost from . There you are a jolly, happy paragraph (or three) on the marvelous wonders of new releases that landed on my desk this week. Enjoy!

LEM Vol 222 Playlist

  1. Lindsay Munroe – Need A Ride
  2. Lauren Lakis – Turn To Dust
  3. The Raft – There’s No Going Back
  4. Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka) – Free Da Minds
  5. Dark Angel (AKA Mowty Mahlyka) – Free Dub
  6. YVA – Fountain Of Youth
  7. Air Hunger – Felt Like Dying
  8. Léanie Kaleido – All The Things I’m Made Of
  9. The Moving Pictures – Loved One
  10. Anna B Savage – Corncrakes
  11. Anna B Savage – Chelsea Hotel #3
  12. David Long & Shane O’Neill – Moll & Zeis
  13. – Remembrance Day
  14. K÷ – Giving Up The Ghost

Artwork for this volume by Celia “Teddy” Rubin “Father’s Day” 5’ x 4’6” 1999 Giclee print on archival paper mounted on wood panel. Courtesy of Norman B’s collection 

LEM Vol 222

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