Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Upbeat Tuesday: Prickle - The Gromble

Prickle - Tell Me Why.

What we are told - Prickle is 17 y/o independent pop rock artist Emily Wilson from Melbourne, Victoria. After spending a few years honing and developing her sound, in search of her ‘unique voice,’ Emily is ready to share her personal perspective.

‘Tell Me Why,’ is her first single. It is a study of contrasting personalities and the thoughts that follow. The honest vocals engage a story telling voice speaking to the listener in conversational style. Initially sketched out with a laid back acoustic feel, the song has now adopted a garage rock 60’s mood with a strong rhythm section and drive.

The song is produced by Rich Bowers and Matt O’Connor, and features Jasper Miles on drums. Jasper has collaborated with Emily on a lot of her material and is also a member Auntie Mag. A lot more to come from Prickle in 2016 following 'Tell Me Why.''

This is a superb song. Vocals are a delight and the music (more rock than pop in my opinion) adds power to the whole piece. An exciting blast of fresh new music, due for release on the 11th of December 2015.


The Gromble - Real Sympathy.

Background - Hailing from the warm shores of California, five-piece band The Gromble grew up playing together in various bands and have established the kind of rare synchronicity that has helped them carve out their own idiosyncratic niche: a charming blend of orchestral alt-folk and indie rock, honed live supporting such acts as The Lemonheads. 

With the classic intensity of early greats Pavement, Weezer and Neutral Milk Hotel and a taste for the heartland classics, they arrive somewhere between Grouplove, Miniature Tigers and Vampire Weekend. They take their name from Nickelodeon’s Aaahh!!! Real Monsters a perfect indicator of their unashamed love for 90s pop culture and for the sense of humour that runs beneath the surface of their songs.

Their new album 'Jayus' is due out February 12th 2016. The band say: “We wanted to create something that encompassed all of our varying and often conflicting influences, in hopes that it will reach the listener as something both fresh and familiar. There's something special about the time when a group is first trying to gel together and really define itself, its aural signature. For us, this album definitely captures that feeling as we're learning about ourselves, each other, and the burden of life in general.”

This just 'screams' summer and smiles and beach parties and warmth (you get the picture?). It's been some journey for the band to reach this point, based on the good vibes of this song, a lot of music fans will be glad they stuck with it.


Monday, 23 November 2015

Alternative Take: Super8 & Tab - Club 8 - Frameworks

Super8 & Tab - Komorebi.

Background - Since their collaboration in 2005, Super8 & Tab have released two Beatport trance number one artist albums, played at major music festivals all over the world, including EDC, Ultra, Tomorrowland and A State of Trance and been nominated ‘Best Breakthrough DJ’ at the Miami WMC IDMA Awards. Most recently, the duo was signed to colossal record company Armada Music and shows no signs of slowing down.

Things started happening for the Finnish duo in 2004, when Above & Beyond adopted each of them individually as the first members of the ever-growing Anjunabeats family. Super8 met Tab in 2005 at a recording studio and they soon start working together. Although they have grown with Anjuna and had multiple number one releases on the label, they’ve always put out records on other imprints too; the latest of which is Armada Music. In addition to being signed to two of the biggest labels in trance music, Super8 & Tab’s other achievements include two artist albums, four mix compilations, remixes for the likes of Armin van Buuren, Paul van Dyk, Ferry Corsten and BT and countless hit singles such as ‘Elektra,' ‘Irufushi,'  ‘L.A.’ and ‘Helsinki Scorchin.’’

In 2014 the duo released their second artist album ‘Unified’, which was celebrated with a string of Beatport Top 3 singles (‘Code Red’ with Jaytech, ‘Rubicon’ with 7Skies, and ‘No Frontiers’ and ‘Let Go’, both featuring Julie Thompson). To coincide with the release of ‘Unified’, the duo embarked on a five-month album tour, taking in more than 40 cities across North and South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

'Komorebi' has that classic trance feel to start with, and then just goes somewhere special, wonderful and quite anthemic. This is an incredible piece of music.


Club 8 - Late Nights.

Background - Club 8 and the new album 'Pleasure' just released (November 20). Swedish duo Club 8 celebrate 20 years as a band and return with their 9th album, “Pleasure”. For the album producer and songwriter Johan Angergård (The Legends, Pallers, Acid House Kings, Eternal Death) wrote almost 30 songs and then he and singer Karolina Komstedt chose to record eight of these. Just like most Club 8 albums from the last 14 years ”Pleasure” was recorded in their own studio, the ever changing Summersound Studios.

- ”Love dies” was the first song we recorded and it set the tone and work process for the whole album. It was written in a few hours and finished the day after. Vocals was captured on the first take. For me, this is not only our probably best album to date, it’s the the most well produced in every way. Still, we haven’t done an album this fast since ”Spring came, rain fell” in 2002, says Johan.

Club 8 has always seen themselves as an international band with no plans to succeed in their home country (but accidently succeeded anyway). - We never play live in Sweden and we’ve chosen not to do any interviews here in the last years. We love Sweden, of course, but why play here when you can tour Brazil or China? Or, more importantly, produce some new music! (Johan)

The duo has released their albums on more than 40 different labels located in more than 20 different countries (including labels in Indonesia, Spain, the UK, the US, Philippines, Japan, Ukraine, Italy, Brazil, Taiwan, China, South Korea, Malaysia and Thailand). They started out the Spanish label Siesta in 1995 and had a dance hit with “Missing you” on Labrador in Spain three years later. A few years later they were among the first to popularize indie pop, possibly the very first, in Indonesia and a driving force behind the creation of the entire indie scene in the country. In the last years they’ve seen their popularity grow rapidly in China and played audiences of 20.000 people in 2014. 2015 has certainly been a productive year for Club 8’s producer and songwriter Johan Angergård. “Pleasure” is his third album this year, his 9th with Club 8 and 21st album in total.

'Late Nights' is an upbeat and up tempo mix of synths and the dreamy voice of Karolina sits beautifully above it all. As far as the album goes, some songs are slower or softer, they all have the constant quality that is Club 8.


Frameworks - Branches.

Background - British downtempo and instrumental hip hop producer Frameworks has teamed up with Emancipator’s label Loci Records for the release of his ‘Branches’ EP. Following his debut LP Tides, which was released with First Word Records earlier this year, the four-track ‘Branches’ EP sees Matthew Brewer, aka Frameworks, expand his cinematic soundscapes into bolder tempos with even more live instrumentation bringing an organic richness to his already warm compositions. 

The title track, “Branches,” brings bold, organic house grooves right out of the box. Delicate atmospherics are the hallmark of “Carry On,” which functions as the EP’s lead single. “The Movement” reunites Brewer with longtime collaborator Rioghnach Connolly, whose powerful vocal style penetrates the innovative foundation. Closing with “The Passenger,” Frameworks brings brassy, pulsing beats to a fanfare of a climax.

Brewer first became a part of the Loci Records family after opening for Emancipator at a UK tour stop, who then asked him to lead off his Dusk To Dawn remix album with a version of the title track. From there, it was only natural to release an EP with the imprint. He just recently finished up his first US tour, alongside Vibe Street and Dreamers Delight, and looks forward to hitting the road again soon.

First track off the EP 'Branches' typifies the overall quality of Frameworks new release. It's intricate, with an attention to detail, its also incredibly well composed and deserves a lot of attention.


Saturday, 21 November 2015

Genre Mix: The Monikers - Eternals - Bloodhounds On My Trail

The Monikers - Friends Like These.

Background - The Monikers are a four piece indie rock band based in Adelaide, SA. Forming in early 2013, the guys have come together to create their own unique style of melodic, guitar- driven indie rock. Working hard over the past two years and delivering two EPs in the process, they have steadily built a reputation as one of the most fun live acts in Adelaide. The floor is always packed with people dancing along to their catchy tunes! 

‘Friends Like These’ was recorded and produced in SAE Studios, Adelaide, by Michael Carver. It’s an upbeat-party song with some dark undercurrents. Punchy and guitar- driven, it’s friendly demeanour somewhat conceals the more serious subject matter of the song. 

“It’s probably the happiest and saddest song I’ve ever written. Definitely the most personal” - Andy Mackenzie. You can catch The Monikers in Adelaide on 12/12/15 at The Ed Castle and in Melbourne on 8/1/15 at Mr Boogie Man Bar.

The Monikers are a good reminder that keeping music simple, unpretentious and danceable tends to make it timeless and popular. 'Friends Like These' seemingly skips along with fine 'earthy' vocals accompanied by a band that know their business. Go on, play it and try and stay still...


Eternals - Out Of Context.

Biography - Drawing equally from contemporary greats such as Wilco, Spoon and Sparklehorse, and classic pop and rock experimentalists like Brian Eno and John Cale, Somerville, MA’s Eternals are the perfect collusion of timeless sounds with an ambitious sonic language.

Songwriter Stephen Konrads writes like an arranger, and arranges like a cinematographer. A multi-instrumentalist of intense versatility, he is acutely aware of the fallacy of technique over content, and keeps his sonic landscape stark & muscular. Wayne Whittaker, bass; Harrison Seiler, drums; Eric Bolton, guitar contribute a spare, smouldering power that recalls the restrained prowess of classic American rhythm sections.

For the better part of ten years, members of Eternals have collaborated with numerous musicians in the Boston area, including Marissa Nadler, Thalia Zedek and members of Passion Pit, Titus Andronicus, Haerts, Lucius, Foxygen, and Diane Coffee. The band began arranging original material in 2013, and recorded their debut full-length to analog tape at the Soul Shop in Medford, MA. Following the album’s release in 2014, the band toured regionally and landed opening slots for acclaimed acts, including Wild Nothing, Caveman and Bishop Allen. 

On their forthcoming full-length, Isn’t That Anyone, Eternals seek to expand their brand of atmospheric Americana. “Out Of Context”, the record’s first single, is a compactly arranged folk song buoyed by warm electronic ambiance reminiscent of Brian Eno or Daniel Lanois. The band co-produced the song alongside engineer Aaron Bastinelli, who has worked with thousands of artists including Bono, The Roots and The Hold Steady.

'Out Of Context' is the first song I have heard by this band, and I am really impressed. OK so there is plenty of name checking in the bio above, however in the end, its the music that "makes it, or breaks it", and this one just stands out on so many levels.


Bloodhounds On My Trail - Jolly. (from the EP Escape II).

Background - It's no secret that Australia has a burgeoning shoegaze scene. From within the burgeoning Melbourne shoegaze community, Bloodhounds On My Trail are set to release ‘Escape II’ internationally through US label Moon Sounds Records. where they join a healthy roster with such notable bands as Ceremony, The Foreign Resort, Dead Leaf Echo, Static Daydream, and Follow The Sea. This deluxe edition of their debut EP ‘Escape’ will also feature additional tracks ‘She’s In My Plans’ and a remix of ‘Jolly’ by celebrated dreampop duo Ummagma.

Bloodhounds are Johnny Green (guitar, vocals), Chris Donaldson (guitar), Nik Donaldson (drums) and Ché Walden (bass). With a love of shoegaze bands of the late 1980s to early 90s, Bloodhounds On My Trail seek to fuse the rhythmic underpinnings of bands like the Velvet Underground and the Stooges with the infectious stylings of shoegaze luminaries such as Cocteau Twins and Slowdive. 

Since playing their first show in February 2014, the band has been blossoming through a whirlwind combination of live shows, festivals and recording sessions. Their music was met with positive reactions, encouraging press, and invitations to play with notable Australian artists such as Lowtide, Contrast, and White Walls. Thanks to Tonedeaf and Gabe Lewis from Lowtide, one of the foremost shoegaze acts in Australia, Bloodhounds on My Trail began to be known as one of the best Aussie shoegaze acts around. "They sound like how I want my guitars to sound," Gabe explains. "Needless to say, I was immediately hooked. Really languid, cascading washes, and wearing their pastoral shoegaze influences on their sleeves.”

All of this prompted the band to formally commit their hazy tones to tape at Birdland Studios with renowned engineer and producer Matthew Hosking, who was the perfect match for the band - also being deeply immersed in shoegaze music and having a record of outstanding work with fellow shoegazers Lowtide, Contrast, vhs dream and Hideous Towns. This year has also seen the band gain momentum with appearances at local gaze festivals alongside Flyying Colours, Immigrant Union, Black Cab and Day Ravies.

In all honesty I have to be in the right mood to listen to shoegaze music these days. Across this EP, there is enough variety, rather than a constant wall of noise, to keep it interesting and enjoyable. I guess my Cocteau Twins obsession, sets the bar high, however for me, 'Bloodhounds On My Trail' certainly fall into the 'ones to watch' category.


The Ocean Blue - First Three Albums Reissued

The Ocean Blue - City Traffic.

And the facts - The Ocean Blue reissued its first three albums on vinyl yesterday (Nov. 20th) via Shelflife Records / Korda Records - this includes The Ocean Blue (1989), Cerulean (1991) and Beneath The Rhythm and Sound (1993). Cerulean and Beneath are being issued on vinyl for the first time ever. The band will also perform their S/T debut and Cerulean in full on fall tour (final dates below).  

The Ocean Blue's debut record on the famed Sire Records label in 1989 achieved widespread acclaim and radio & MTV airplay. The band of four high schoolers from Hershey, Pennsylvania went on to do two more well-received records for Sire, the atmospheric Cerulean and alt-pop Beneath the Rhythm and Sound, and a fourth record for Mercury/PolyGram, See The Ocean Blue, before leaving the majors in the late 90s. The band did several independent releases in the 2000s, including Davy Jones Locker and Waterworks, and in 2013 released their first full length record in over 10 years, Ultramarine, on Korda Records, a new Minneapolis cooperative label that the band helped launch in late 2012. A new full length record is in the works and slated for release in 2016.

Remaining dates:
11/21 - Washington, DC - Jammin Java
11/22 - Lancaster, PA - Chameleon Club.

I guess 'City Traffic' makes a good introduction to those who for whatever reason missed out on The Ocean Blue first time around. The band produce some exceptional music and hopefully these vinyl reissues will help spark wider interest again. There is also a reissue sampler with a further three tracks, and of course the bands music is available in other formats. Enjoy!



Friday, 20 November 2015

Friday With: Barons Of Hiddenhausen - Renders

Barons Of Hiddenhausen - Realm Of The Edge (V.2).

Background - Barons Of Hiddenhausen is based out of Vienna, and is an experimental "one man duo" founded in 2012.. I grew up near the "Waterwoods", an isolated place in the upper Austrian outskirts. I was handed a guitar pick by BB King when I was 11 years old for being the youngest person at the show. A year later I begged my father to buy me an electric guitar. 

After being in several bands I decided to move to Vienna and locked myself up in a small flat for two years to start writing my first debut album. I recorded and mixed it entirely alone on just one macbook and decided to self release it by late 2012. It was around the very same time when an opportunity came along to collaborate on Digital Noise Academy in Los Angeles with one of my childhood hero's, Ken Andrews (Failure, M83, A.P.C.).

From a five track EP 'Realm Of The Edge (V.2)' has a chunky, deep and at times quite edgy vibe flowing through it. All five tracks have a distinct sound, that mixes power and precision with energy and determined vocals. Together the five songs are both moody and majestic.

Renders - I Am Gone.

Background words - Renders recently released her debut single ‘I Am Gone'. The track was produced by Mark Andrade of the band Paradise Animals.

Empowerment and Independence: the standard of purity and truth is reclaimed through the heart. The repetition of the honesty of love is imbued in the song writing, crystallised in the synth chords, and rendered with the strength of willing autonomy. We've all had our hearts broken; we've all felt lonely; but not all of us have stood tall and free; pushed back when pushed over. 'I Am Gone' does just that: takes a stand and raises a collective fist.

Kelly McMichael, aka Renders aka the new pop princess, pours her sensitive heart into this debut single. Asserting herself in the discourse of pop music, Renders is a love letter to herself and the state of moving on. Renders is deliberate: Renders is becoming: Renders is providing: Renders is Kelly McMichael.

We featured Paradise Animals not that long ago. The production by band member Mark Andrade on this song is good, however what really helps, is having a vocalist of the calibre of Kelly McMichael (Renders), and a beautiful song to go with her. A song that is good for the soul.


Thursday, 19 November 2015

Thursday Three: Krista Polvere - Gillbanks - PJKTS

Krista Polvere - Shut Up & Ride.

And those fine background promo words - Melbourne based alt-country siren Krista Polvere returns from an international hiatus with the release of her new single Shut Up and Ride on November 27.

The single is the first taste of Polvere’s new self-titled album due for release early in 2016. Both single and album were recorded in Virginia, USA, and produced by producer/artist Brian Elijah Smith. The recordings were made over an intense period in a basement studio fuelled by an intense relationship between the pair resulting in an album of rare emotional vulnerability and fire.

“There is a story within it all that makes this album even more intense and special. You may hear it all coming through the songs, through my voice. The producer and instrumentalist on the album was my lover at the time. When I listen to the record now I can hear the ghosts of our love and the listener may too”. Shut Up and Ride is a powerful first single from the album – a rollicking, guitar driven ode to spontaneity and risk-taking, with an unmistakably lustful lyric!

To celebrate the release of the single Polvere has commenced a short residency at Melbourne’s Gasometer Hotel along with a series of other shows around Victoria and a three-day stint at Australian Music Week in Sydney. In February 2016 Krista will return to the USA having been accepted to perform at the prestigious Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City.

Upcoming headline shows:
Tuesday 24th November 2015 - Gasometer Hotel, Fitzroy VIC
Friday 4 December 2015 - Westernport Hotel, San Remo VIC
Wednesday 16 December 2015 - Retreat Hotel, Fitzroy VIC

Alt country doesn't have to be dark and moody as 'Shut Up and Ride' demonstrates. With a kick in it's heel, this song is a positive blast of great music and captivating vocals, that are just right for the song.


Gillbanks - Tiffany. (from the EP 'Lend Me Your Skin').

Background words - The truth is that you have no true self-realised opinions, you have no absolute idea about who you are or what sort of legacy you’ll leave. Everything you are is an adoption, a slice of someone else’s thoughts, a misinterpretation between the excitement of something new and the fear of missing out.

A deep anxiety took hold of Sam Gillbanks. A story told by too many of the newly graduated youth: no job, no money, no future. Still no inkling into what he really wanted, he ventured into a labyrinth of dreamscaping, guitar playing, and song writing and found a release of residual energy and captive ideas of his own making. These were not adopted. These were his ideas.

He took his guitar and his voice and burrowed in the coastal town of Falmouth until he surfaced with a host of songs. Aided by the infallible Hugo Heaverman, the two made Gillbanks with the self realised dream of giving the world their own creation. A Wavey Head released album called ‘Lived In’ followed and spawned the interest of many a keen eye. Gillbanks dreamt of writing songs for the wicked, for the useless, for the kings of us. The ones who both know what they want and don’t know who they are, we are all guilty of falling into those well trodden paths and Gillbanks want you to know that you can tread theirs.

On November 25th, Gillbanks release their debut EP 'Lend Me Your Skin', riding on the waves of the initial singles ‘Anxious?’ and ‘Loosen Up’. Coming from the industry heartland of Birmingham, its not hard to hear where the gritty noisier extremes and the punishing self-examination of faithless and trust less love originate. Spinning the coin between dark realisation and melancholy appendix, Sam explored the lighter side of his mind to create a juxtaposition in melody and lyric writing, most notably on the track ‘Tiffany’. However, as chilling to the bone ‘Nerve’ may be to the ear, it’s sanctity is it’s musical journey, whisking you from subtle lows to cliff-edge highs.

'Lend Me Your Skin' is Sam’s promise not only to the listener, but to himself. He will constantly mine into the bottomless caves of musical innovation to create what will ultimately be, a voyage of his mind.

I chose 'Tiffany' to feature from this five track EP because it's my favourite one, and also I think it gives a good indication, of the styling you will hear, from what is a varied set of very fine songs.


PJKTS - Sunshine. (from the 'Loudest Child' EP).

Background promo words - Songwriter James Mason releases his debut EP Loudest Child under the name PJKTS on November 17th. The project emerges from the LA indie pop scene inhabited by producer Ethan Kaufmann (Wild Party), who was a driving influence of the EP’s electrifying, synthpop sound. The two teamed up in Silver Lake, CA to record Loudest Child, a set of songs that weaves the singer’s natural emotive voice into Kauffman’s slick production in his East Hollywood studio dubbed The Elephant in the Room. The debut EP was released a couple of days ago.

Mason, previously in pop-tinged rock outfit The Vantage and pop-punk revelers Safety Word Orange, has always relied most on his ability as a songwriter. Stacked high with experimental indie rockand synth-popgleam, the four tracks on the EP - “Mary Louise,” “Sunshine,” “Three for the Show” and “Bad Manners” - are all buoyed by keen lyricism. Thematically, the songs conform around the anxiety and tension that nearly every 20-something has grappled with: transitioning from a more careless existence to fitting in with the bewildering idea of what it means to be an “adult.” The EP also calls to attention the damage done to personal relationships caught in the corners of addiction and depression, although sonically it is a four on the floor party affair.

The set starts with “Sunshine,” a song about self-reinvention spurred by the site of a particularly engrossing homeless man, whose weary gruffness brings up insecurities and uncertainty in our narrator. By the chorus, however, he is “walking on sunshine” as he ultimately chooses hope and optimism as his coping mechanism.

Celebratory single “Three for the Show” explodes with tom drum-lead choruses and fetching verses. Carefully placed percussion layers and synth progressions provide the base for Mason’s musings. “Three for the Show” preaches to everyone who has cracked or lost their iPhone screen during a night of heavy boozing: Sometimes it’s just easier to find delight in the screw-up and accept it as a souvenir of an awesome night of revelry. “Mary Louise” finds Mason nostalgic for his days living in LA in the mid-2000’s, reminiscing on past friends and debaucherous times.“Bad Manners” rounds out the EP with big, guitar-driven hooks and alternately spacious and snappy vocals. PJKTS will play local and regional shows leading up to appearances at the South by Southwest Music Festival in March of 2016.

The first of four songs 'Sunshine' quickly grabbed my attention, with the dominant and powerfully expressive vocals of James Mason. Each song stamps it's own mark, and combine to make a very rich EP.


Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Mother Hips - Live at Belly Up 2006 (IA)

From the Internet Archive (IA) this is Mother Hips Live at Belly Up, Solana Beach, California, back on the 10th March, 2006. The band performed Neil Young's album 'Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere' in its entirety on the first set.

For those unfamiliar with Mother Hips, the following is part of their (Wiki) history - Tim Bluhm (vocals/guitar), Greg Loiacono (guitar/vocals), Isaac Parsons (bass) and Mike Wofchuck (drums) met in 1990 while attending California State University-Chico, living off campus in Bradley Hall. They jammed and played some original songs at a few parties (once billed as Pippi Longstocking and the Trunk-of-Funk), but soon Isaac and Mike were lured away by the prospect of playing Led Zeppelin and Jane's Addiction covers at big parties as the rhythm section of the Keystones. Meanwhile Tim and Greg played acoustic guitars and sang harmonies to songstress Ali Weiss in the mellow trio Ali and the Cats.

These bands played throughout 1990, but in early 1991, Tim, Greg, Isaac and Mike got back together and got serious about being a rock band. It didn't take long to step up from parties in Chico, CA to local bars and dance clubs like LaSalles and Juanita's. They began playing original songs rather than covers. The band released Back to the Grotto in February 1993. It was produced by the band with Bay Area-based musician/producer Paul Hoaglin (who would subsequently replace Parsons on bass upon his departure in 2002). The Hips were courted by major record labels and did sign a deal with MCA. A&R Exec. Rob Kasino signed them to Rick Rubin's American Recordings even though they were still students at Chico. The Hips then became labelmates with Johnny Cash, Tom Petty, and the Black Crowes (whose Chris Robinson helped the band to sign with American.) The band visited The Black Crowes at Conway while they were recording Amorica on their way to SXSW.

They did more recording and mixing on Back to the Grotto for its American re-release (March 1995) and set out to record a follow-up. Released in August 1995, Part-Timer Goes Full included new songs as well as tunes from their back catalog. American Recordings decided the song "Shut the Door" would be released as the first single, but this decision did not go over well with some fans, who thought the song was not representative of their sound. While the song didn't top any charts, the fanbase grew due to touring, including a concert at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds with 2,400 tickets sold. They were also headlining major venues like the Fillmore in San Francisco and appearing at festivals like Laguna Seca Daze and the Horde tour. Their third album Shootout was recorded in early 1996 and released in October of that year. American Records failed to promote the album and eventually dropped the band from their roster. Their music shifted direction around 1997, with shorter, radio-friendly songs, instead of longer multiple sectioned songs. They started to get into basic country-style songwriting, but it didn't fit with drummer Mike Wofchuck's style, so they replaced him with John Hofer, formerly of the Freewheelers. In 1996, the band members moved out of the Chestnut Street house in Chico, to the San Francisco Bay Area, where they are currently based.

They recorded the stripped-down Later Days album and self-released it in May 1998. They continued playing frequently, focusing mostly on California cities, with occasional jaunts to Utah or the Pacific Northwest. They self-recorded another album, the more pop-oriented Green Hills of Earth. Indie label Future Farmer liked the album and released it, but, again, the album did not promote the band to their desired popularity. Bassist Isaac Parsons left the band in March 2002, to spend more time with his son. He was replaced by Paul Hoaglin (co-producer of Back To The Grotto and Part Timer Goes Full). In September of 2002, Greg Loiacono, lead guitarist, decided he too needed a break, and the band went on indefinite hiatus after two shows at Slim's in San Francisco in February 2003.

Toward the end of 2004 the Mother Hips reunited and started playing shows again. They recorded an EP, Red Tandy, followed by a full-length album, Kiss the Crystal Flake, released in April 2007. The band released their seventh album, Pacific Dust, in October 2009 to great acclaim, including highlights "White Falcon Fuzz" and "Third Floor Story". The album was recorded at Mission Bells Studio in San Francisco with co-producer/engineer David Simon-Baker. The Mother Hips released an archival 4-CD set compilation celebrating 20 years of music together September 13, 2011 called Days of Sun and Grass. On May 14, 2013, the band announced that their new album, 'Behind Beyond' would be released on July 9, 2013. The album was produced by David Simon-Baker and recorded at the Mission Bells studio in San Francisco and will also include the songs, 'Isle Not of Man' and 'Jefferson Army'. - The band continue to perform, for details see the website link below.

Recording Details: Source SBD>Mac laptop. - Lineage CDR>EAC V0.95 beta 4>yamp>Flac Front end version 1.7.1 level 8.

Sound Quality: Superb - soundboard.

Set List:

Set 1.
01.Cinnamon Girl
02.Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
03.Round and Round (It Won't Be Long)
04.Down By the River
05.Losing End (When You're On)
06.Running Dry (Requiem for the Rockets)
07.Cowgirl In the Sand

Set 2.
02.Singing Seems to Ease Me
04.Such a Thing
05.3rd Floor Story
06.Back to the Grotto
07.Del Mar Station***
08.Gold Plated
09.Song in a Can
10.Grizzly Bear
11.Life in the City
13.Blue Tomorrow
14.Red Tandy
15.Rich Little Girl
16.---waiting for encore
17.Encore: The Figure 11
*** with Court and Spark

Website: Official Here.

Comments: There are FLAC, Ogg Vorbis and mp3 download files, along with the streaming material over at the Internet Archive (here).

Stream Below:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Tuesday Rocks: Hound - Andrew Johnston

Hound - Driveway.

Background - Brisbane goth cricket enthusiasts Hound return with an infectious garage-door banger ‘Driveway’ following on from their album single ‘God is Calling’ - which turned up on a fair few radios and televisions across the great southern land.

Born out of a combined love for 80’s post punk and 90’s alt rock, ‘Driveway’ is equal parts fresh and throwback. Singer Chris Cox’s lyrics and vocal delivery evoke strong images of booze soaked balconies basking in the afternoon sun. Hungover thoughts of being caught in the same environment without a means of escape, sending ones ambitions into the indifferent vacuum of outer space echoing the lyric “I guess we’re back to the same old driveway”. Driveway’ is the first single taken from Hound’s forthcoming  EP to be released early 2016.

Whether it's post punk or goth rock is academic, 'Driveway' is a refreshing blast of high energy, fast paced, good old rock'n'roll music. Best served with plenty of iced beer.


Andrew Johnston - Take The Highway.

Background words from Andrew Johnston - On the eve of my new tour I'd like to release my new single “Take the Highway”. It's the fruit of my earlier tour dates this year where I reconnected with the magic of art and travel.

I wanted to make something fun and spontaneous that would capture the creative energy I felt coming off a tour of Ontario last May.  Being on the road can feel magical because you connect with real people face-to-face in a really special way and if you are tuned-in just right there is some cosmic energy out there - for example, when we drove into Orillia, Ontario, Gord Lightfoot came on the radio (Orillia is Lightfoot’s home town), and taking exit 64 to Hamilton, the Beatles “When I’m 64” came on...explain that! Ah, regardless of if you believe in magic, “Take the Highway” explores that often living a fulfilling life requires taking chances, and getting outside of your comfort zone.

Meeting the road for me was that chance. For you it may be something different. Regardless, I wrote "Take The Highway" to encourage you to take those chances, go see those places, write a song or simply do what you need to do to expand your horizons. Take the Highway will by a digital only release for now, packaged with a bonus track: a cover of Cory Heart’s 1985 classic “Never Surrender.”

Tour Dates:

November 19th Ottawa -Raw Sugar Cafe with Nick Ferrio and Dynamite Motel
November 20th Stratford - Monforte with Two Minute Miracles
November 21 Kingston - Musiikki Cafe
November 22 Montreal - Cagibi with Nick Ferrio, Colin Moore, We Are We
November 26th London, Ontario - East Village Arts Collective with Cat Clyde
November 27th Peterborough - The Garnet with Nick Ferrio
November 28th Toronto - Saving Gigi with Part & Parcel, MJ Cyr (Presented by Lootbag)
November 29th Saint Catharines - Mahtay Cafe with Mat Monoogian and Edwin Conroy Jr.
Dec 3 – Fredericton – The Grimross.
Dec 4 -St. John, NB -Taco Pica w/Womb to Tomb.
Dec 7th – Charlottetown, P.E.I – Babs’s Lounge w/ David Woodside
Dec 8th – Moncton, NB – Igloo Beverage Room.

'Take The Highway' has that warm timeless rock vibe of a 'road' song. Story telling, unfolding lyrics and vocals that really can deliver this style, along with some tighter than tight music.


Monday, 16 November 2015

Monday: Emmylou Harris with John Paul White - Twin Limb - Steve Mahabir

Emmylou Harris with John Paul White - Kyrie.

Background - Emmylou Harris & John Paul White have released "Kyrie," the second single from the upcoming Mercyland: Hymns For The Rest Of Us, Volume II compilation. "Kyrie" is available today as a single for purchase and streaming at all digital outlets. The full Mercyland compilation will be released on January 15, 2016 on Mercyland Records.

This is the second installment of the Mercyland compilation, bringing together some of the most prominent voices in Americana music. "I don’t know that the first Mercyland would have even happened without Emmylou’s involvement," says Phil Madeira. "When I started Volume II, she suggested we write together, which of course was an honor.  She brought lovely verse ideas to the table, but a chorus eluded us until the words 'Kyrie Eleison' appeared.  What better prayer can be prayed than to ask for mercy?"

Classic Emmylou Harris with sensitive accompaniment by John Paul White (John Paul White is an American singer-songwriter, and was a member of the Grammy Award-winning duo The Civil Wars). It's a charming tender song.


Twin Limb - Don't Even Think.

Background - Twin Limb’s debut 'Anything Is Possible and Nothing Makes Sense' was relesed last Friday. Twin Limb are type of nouveau Americana, enlisting all the roots-y singing and strings their part of the world has been known for since its inception, but stacking all the types of production tricks we've learned over the decades, bringing us to 2015.

Twin Limb is proof that a band can be a powerful trio without being a "power trio". When friends, Lacey Guthrie and Maryliz Bender decided they were going to build a musical edifice together, they eventually enlisted the producing prowess of Kevin Ratterman, not knowing that his organic style would blend so well with their own; bringing post-punk guitar sprinklings to a yearning, but militaristic amalgam of soaring vocals, percussion, and slowly-kneaded accordion. Once Ratterman officially joined, the production of the long player interestingly ceased, and following what the three felt they should do to honor their output, they began work on a second release, the EP Anything Is Possible and Nothing Makes Sense. In an age of rushing full lengths, sometimes an outfit does not get the opportunity to suddenly pivot to follow what their music dictates, but in the new wild west of the music industry... well, anything is possible.

Oh I do like the featured track 'Don't Even Think'. Atmospheric music supports the superb vocals and emphasises the 'powerful trio' versus 'power trio' comments above. A beautiful distinct and memorable song.


Steve Mahabir - Riding Cowboy.

Background and the story so far  - Steve Mahabir's family moved from Trinidad to Canada when he was seven, exchanging an idyllic island lifestyle for the gritty Toronto neighborhood of Parkdale.

The Caribbean rhythms and steel drums of childhood quickly morphed into a rock and roll adolescence for Mahabir as he turned to the electric guitar. He co-founded the seminal Canadian alt.rock band Groovy Religion and held down a residency at The Beverley Tavern's infamous “Elvis Mondays” ground zero for Toronto's explosive 1980s Queen Street music scene. Mahabir recorded three albums with the group, appeared on compilations and soundtracks, backed Jim Carroll for several Toronto shows and shared bills with the likes of the Beastie Boys, Hüsker Dü, Dream Syndicate, Barenaked Ladies and many others. He also played with Scott B. Sympathy, Parts Found in Sea and Ministry of Love before largely putting music on the back burner as he started a family and then a store front business in Parkdale. 

Music still coursed through Mahabir’s veins, however, and he’s now finally set to release his debut solo album, Angel in Parkdale, through Big Canoe/Bungalo/Universal. The 16-song, 50-minute record offers an eclectic mix of instrumentation and sounds that combine to create a concept album that pulls no punches in telling a gripping story of a one-time drug dealer and his girlfriend that’s based on real people and situations that Mahabir has dealt with over the past 16 years. Some songs were written in just 15 minutes while others took a few years to gestate, but they form a cohesive collection of driving rock, country-based roots, simmering ballads and haunting pop numbers.

The guitarist/singer invited friends to bring his vision to life, including: two Groovy Religion bandmates, bassist John Borra (Rattlesnake Choir, The Screwed) and drummer Glenn Milchem (Blue Rodeo, The Swallows); keyboardist Michael Boguski (Blue Rodeo); and steel guitarist Mickey Andrews (Stompin’ Tom Connors). The bed tracks were recorded in three days with Juno Award-nominated Grammy Award winning engineer/producer Peter J. Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Hard Core Logo) at his renowned The E Room studio.

Angel in Parkdale was produced by Borra, Moore and Mahabir and was rounded out masterfully with the addition of trumpet, trombone, saxophone, violin, harp, tabla and backing vocals, with contributions from the likes of friends David Madden (Bob Marley, Zap Pow), Miranda Mulholland (Great Lake Swimmers, Belle Starr), William New (Groovy Religion) and former professional wrestler turned country singer Sweet Daddy Siki.

'Riding Cowboy' may only be a little over two minutes long, but it's one mighty tempting hook, to go out and purchase the rest of the album. It just oozes quality and with a 'CV' like the one above, you kind of expect that at the very least.


Sunday, 15 November 2015

Alternative Take: Rococode - Cayetano - Emancipator - Blade of Grass

Rococode - Panic Attack.

Background - Rococode is Laura Smith and Andrew Braun. They released their debut album 'Guns, Sex & Glory' to much critical acclaim in early 2012. The record was produced by Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother, Hannah Georgas) and mixed by John Congleton (St.Vincent, Polyphonic Spree). Upon the release of their debut, the band took to the road and spent the better part of the next 18 months touring Canada and the US in various capacities.

When it came time to work on their follow-up, Rococode coaxed producers Caleb Shreve (Phantogram, Bear Hands) from New York and Ted Gowans (Tegan and Sara, Fences) from Los Angeles to set up a studio in a cabin, off the grid, in the isolated coastal forest of British Columbia. Between building fires, checking the solar panels, and failed fishing trips, the foursome set to work on music that shared none of the characteristics of their rustic surroundings. They arranged an army of synthesisers, guitar pedals and drum machines into tight, crisp Alternative gems that sparkle, shuffle and shake at every turn. The result of this incredible collaboration is the 'Panic Attack' EP (Released back on October 9th). It will be followed by the full length album due out in February 2016.

Upcoming Tour Dates:

November 17th - Saskatchewan Cultural Exchange — Regina, SK
November 18th - Starlite Room w/Dear Rouge — Edmonton, AB
November 19th - Broken City — Calgary, AB
November 20th - The Slice — Lethbridge, AB
November 21st - Spirit Bar — Nelson, BC.

Released last month the five track 'Panic Attack' EP is a taste of what to expect from next February's album. With thumping synths and percussion the title track is accompanied by some 'softer' songs and consistently fine vocals. The remix of 'Panic Attack' strips back the layers a little, giving it a more intricate feel. It's a hard one to call so we have added both versions.


Cayetano - Talk To Me.

Background - It's been 3 years since Cayetano's "Once Sometime" album, which received great reviews from the Press as well as amazing feedback and support from artists such as Thievery Corporation, The Herbaliser, Mop Mop and Skeewiff to name a few.

Now, Cayetano is back with 11 different stories about everyday life, love and loneliness to be heard as one. It's the first album where he plays almost all instruments by himself, apart from the guitars, performed by Alex Papoulidis.

From the fusion feeling of "Talk To Me", or the deeply emotional "Something In You" and "Hold Me Tight", to the funky "Third World War" and the cinematic "Leningrad", from the jazzy "Fading Away", to the pop oriented "Treat You Right", "Where The Sun Shines" and "Never Said It's Easy", Cayetano creates another sonic kaleidoscope for your special moments.

'Talk To Me' is the first of eleven quite diverse songs, on this album. I just love the whole way this track flows, and was pleasantly surprised by the impressive quality of the rest of the material. As said, it ain't all the same, but it is a very good album.


Emancipator - The Key (Live).

Background - In the wake of the release of his fourth studio album Seven Seas last month, hip hop/down tempo producer Doug Appling, aka Emancipator, has decided to release a live version of album track "The Key" for free download. This cut, which features live drums, bass, guitar, and violin, was recorded at the same show as his Live In Athens album, but was not included because the studio version was unreleased at the time.

Seven Seas debuted at #2 on the iTunes Electronic chart, and Doug and the Emancipator Ensemble are touring the west coast throughout November with openers Blockhead and Manatee Commune. Featuring bass and drums, along with a variety of string instruments played by Doug and close collaborator Ilya Goldberg, the Emancipator Ensemble brings his music to life at the crossroads between a DJ set and a live band.

Remaining Tour dates:

11/15 - Hi-Fi Music Hall - Eugene, OR
11/17 - Ashland Armory - Ashland, OR
11/18 - The Catalyst - Santa Cruz, CA
11/19 - Regency Ballroom - San Francisco, CA
11/20 - Regent Theatre - Los Angeles, CA
11/21 - Belly Up Tavern - Solana Beach, CA
11/22 - Glass House Concert Hall - Pomona, CA.

Well we have been known to share to odd live track or two on Beehive Candy. This is just superb, what else can I add, that hasn't been said in positive reviews by the likes of the New York Times and others.


Blade of Grass - The Day Will Come.

Background Words - Blade of Grass is a two man organic electronic project based out of the seascape-y areas of the LA space. Back on October 20th they released their follow up EP to this year's two track EP She Was. From the onset, their latest release Skydream swiftly pulls the listener into a sonic landscape that dilates the senses and clears the stressful congested and racing mind.  

More so than this year's She Was, Skydream acts as a vehicle for Michael and Josh (Blade of Grass) to act as lackadaisical shamans of the secular world. In other words, all four tracks on Skydream are quintessential chill out music. Take a break from social media, anxiety, possessions, and let Blade of Grass' newest release be your convoy to momentary escapism.

Any outfit describing their music as 'West Coast Electronic Space Rock' deserves at least a listen. Vocals are good and strong, and nicely 'up in the mix' across all four tracks, each of which stamps it mark in a positive way. On reflection west coast electronic space rock is a fair description and you can add me as a fan.