Thursday, April 30
This May, the Local and Nancy Wallace present: Old Stories Sessions
At The Britannia, 360 Victoria Park Road, E9 7BT
A residency to celebrate the album Old Stories, on Midwich.
Wed 13 - A-Line, Nancy Wallace, Robin Grey
Wed 20 - Olivia Chaney,Nancy Wallace, Ellen Mary McGee
Wed 27 - Chavo, Nancy Wallace, Robin Gillan
Wed 3 - Sam Lee Trio, Nancy Wallace, Jason Garth Steel
Free Entry to all shows.
Great food, great beer garden.
more info - www.the-local.org.uk
Wednesday, April 29
In the past, Meltdown has boasted live performances from a vast array of artists including our very own Chrome Hoof and Sunn 0))).
To ensure that you do not miss this extra special event then visit the Meltdown site to purchase tickets. They officially went on sale today!
Monday, April 20
A brand new Southern podcast is live on the Southern website and available for download now. It is long overdue but back with vengeance and with some fresh meat in the form of two new contributors Fiona and Freddy (not to mention the return of little miss nicknamed a lot, Queen B)
In this podcast we present a fine selection of our new releases from Southern Records and from our affiliated labels. You can expect music from the enchanting folk songstress Nancy Wallace, black metal titans Orcustus, Bletchley boys Action Beat, the Italian metal/math-rock/no-wave/free-jazz/noise/punk trio Zu and the punk legends Subhumans and that is just the tip of the iceberg!
Here are the featured tracks:
- ACTION BEAT - LE CHAP (TRUTH CULT)
- SUBHUMANS - SUBVERT CITY (BLUURG)
- NANCY WALLACE - THE DROWNED LOVER (MIDWICH)
- ZU - SOULYMPICS (IPECAC)
- ORCUSTUS - DEATH AND DISSOLUTION (SOUTHERN LORD)
- ENABLERS - TUNDRA (EXILE ON MAINSTREAM)
- LOTUS PLAZA - RED OAK WAY (KRANKY)
- HARVESTMAN - MUSIC OF THE DARK TORRENT (NEUROT)
- LAND OF KUSH - AGAINST THE DAY (CONSTELLATION)
- WORMSBLOOD - STREET JAMMER (AURORA BOREALIS)
- WILLIAM ELLIOTT WHITMORE - COLD AND DEAD (SOUTHERN)
- SCREAM - AMERICAN JUSTICE (DISCHORD)
Stay tuned for more coming soon!!!
Friday, April 17
Constellation are responsible for releasing broad, genre-defying music and although each release differs from the next, each is bound by the same level of fantastic quality. Last year they released a superb album Villainaire by The Dead Science whose songs range from epic orchestral pop to sinister jazz-rock and weary, soulbleached balladry (an interview with enigmatic front man can be found on the Southern website) and at the start of this year Constellation released the moving Jem Cohen film Empire Of Tin, a meditation on the decline of empires with musical accompaniment from Vic Chesnutt, members of Silver Mt. Zion and Guy Picciotto (Fugazi).
Some of Constellation's recent output is arguably some of the most adventurous yet. Take Land Of Kush, musician and composer, Sam Shalabi, has for the past 20 years created music unconstrained by genre, with a musical history spanning rock, jazz, free music, punk, and most things in-between in many different projects. With Land Of Kush he explores of sprawling compositions and large ensembles. Against The Day is a complex, intense, but accessible hour of hybrid, genre-defying music. The marriage of middle-eastern, north African and western modes and influences yields a recording that evades categorization which is quite simply, superb.
Coming up are two astounding new releases, the ever-so-refreshing Elfin Saddle and the wonderous self-titled debut by Clues. In terms of the latter, co-founders Alden Penner and Brendan Reed have been quietly nurturing this project in Montreal since the demise of their respective bands, Unicorns and Les Angles Morts. As a member of the short-lived Unicorns, Penner's song-writing prowess was unveiled in a bright burst of mysterious and kaleidoscopic energy, in the form of a single full-length album (released in 2003) and countless live shows, both of which rallied passionate responses from audiences and critics alike. Penner's voice, guitar and unique lyrical vision now guide Clues, with humble authority, originality and intent. Wedded to Reed's own superlative compositional and arranging acumen (and awesome drumming, among other instrumental skills) and abetted by multi-instrumentalists Ben Borden (Les Automates de Maxime de la Rochefoucauld ), Lisa Gamble (Gambletron, Evangelista, Hrsta) and Nick Scribner (Chaotic Insurrection Ensemble), the band delivered sporadic and fantastic local performances through 2008. They then entered the Hotel2Tango studio to lay down eleven songs in a feverish session during a Montreal winter deep freeze. The resulting album radiates a very special warmth and urgency, full of secrets, smiles, snarls and sing-a-longs.
Elfin Saddle's Ringing For The Begin Again is a highly organic song cycle; the music sounds as if it had been dug up from dark, rich earth. Out of the opening drone and rustling ambient percussion of "The Bringer", Jordan evokes golem-like images in a series of descending vocal melodies, gradually joined by Emi's vocal counterpoint and a slowly evolving brew of instrumental layers, like a clay sculpture taking shape and hardening in dappled sunlight. "Running Sheep" is one of several fables sung by Emi in Japanese and demonstrates the band's sharper, more staccato melodic sensibility. Third track "Hammer Song" is a brilliant little ode to deconstruction and dismantling, an anthemic tune about the tension between restraint and resolve. Emi's ukulele and vocal lines on "Sakura" are perhaps most overtly evocative of her home country of Japan; as the song is overtaken by a clockwork of chiming acoustic guitar figures and chugging chords, and segues into the instrumental "Muskeg Parade", we're in the throes of a sort of east-meets- west miniature musicbox marching band. Side Two begins with the two-part "The Living Light", the album centerpiece and a secular hymn to rejuvenation by daylight, sunlight, exposure to the elements - perhaps as only dwellers of the upper latitudes can fully appreciate. In a way, the entirety of Ringing For The Begin Again feels forged directly out of the seasonal extremes of Canadian nature, with the instrumentation like a shelter of wood, moss, grasses and packed earth within which simple and cyclical rituals of invocation and parable can be shaped and intoned. Song after song emerges as if from a sort of hibernation, inscribing its own little portal and then breaking open through it, letting in the elements and harnessing them into harmonious coalescence.
Wednesday, April 8
I caught up briefly with the wonderful Steve Moore of Earth too see how the first leg of their European tour was going and this is what he had to say...
"The tour is going great - awesome shows with good energy from the fans and good music (if I'm allowed to judge....!!!). We're a little exhausted from the extensive drives we've been doing - but currently on a bit of a rest waiting in Oslo to play the Inferno festival. It's an honor to be here and inspiring to see such an open minded scene.....A pleasure as always. Here is a list of the remaining dates:
Hope all is well in London! The band is looking forward, as always, to the UK leg of our tour.....not too many stories to tell - just getting to the gigs is an adventure!"
They will be playing out songs their phenomenal album The Bees Made Honey In The Lion's Skull (follow up to the fantastic Hex) and hopefully the song "Junkyard Priest" which appears on the vinyl version of the album (and is one of my favourites!). This is in my opinion a wonderful record demonstrating their innovation and evolution as a band and boasting a fine line-up of Dylan Carlson, Adrienne Davies, Steve Moore and Don McGreevy. I for one cannot wait to see them!
Check out the tour poster...
"Our driver Rogier Smal made those posters in the company of Don and myself.....during a uneventful evening at the merch table in Lyon, France........... Can't remember how it came up, but it all happened with scissors and glue....lots of laughter. We actually forgot them there at the table, which somehow seems fitting."
Note: this is not the official tour poster! Worth a giggle though!!
Of Irish and Romany gypsy descent, Ellen Mary McGee was born the year that John Lennon and Alfred Hitchcock died and grew up on a notorious council estate in the Midlands amongst used syringes and burnt out Ford Cortinas. She would regularly escape into the nearby stately homes and parks of Newstead Abbey and Sherwood Forest, caught between the spirits of Lord Byron and Maid Marion. She taught herself to play a beaten up nylon stringed acoustic guitar acquired at a local car boot sale at 15 years old. She starting out by practising traditional folk songs and a few years later she began writing her own music and forming various fledgling bands in and around Nottingham, initially inspired by the likes of Movietone and Quickspace. She formed the band Saint Joan in 2001 who went on to release numerous records on her own Dakota records but decided to call it a day in late 2007.
Since then Ellen has been working mainly alone, returning to the traditional folk songs she began playing in her youth and also writing new material inspired by her wayward, unconventional childhood out of which she would often escape into the fantasy worlds created within books and music. She sings of transient characters she has known, loved and lost. She sings of the darkness on the edge of town and the blood of others, caught between the bright lights of the city and the pastoral yearning for a simpler less landlocked life. Inspired by the kitchen sink realism of fellow Nottingham export Alan Sillitoe and family dramas of Arthur Miller as well as the magical escapism of Jonathan Carroll, Italo Calvino and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, her music is at once literary and yet primal.
Ellen plays off-kilter, transcendental folk on guitar, banjo and zither primarily. She has toured widely in the UK and US, playing at various psych/folk festivals in San Francisco, New York and Providence. Her music is steeped in folk traditions and manages to be idiosyncratic yet unaffected. Ellen has been likened to Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan and sings about Greek mythology, sublimation, the ocean and metaphysics, usually involving a pretty high death toll.
She will be playing Leigh Folk festival on Sunday 28th June alongside The Owl Service, Nancy Wallace and Straw Bear Band. Keep your eyes peeled for more shows too!
Wednesday, April 1
On this day ten years ago Ipecac Recordings was born, as their slogan states they have been "making people sick since 1999". The label boasts a vast array of sensational artists including the highly rated; Melvins, Fantomas, Dälek and Tomahawk to the underrated Kaada, Goon Moon, and Eyvind Kang.
Here is a statement published by the label:
As many of you know, on April 1st, Ipecac Recordings turns 10 yearsLook out for Ipecac label features in the upcoming issue of Terrorizer and Rock A Rolla...and on a final note, happy birthday and here is to many more years!
old. We don't have any big party to invite you to, or a special
release to give you or sell you. We simply would like to thank you for
your support. It is amazing that we have survived 10 years. In the
beginning, we were not even sure we wanted to be a "real" label. Some
would say we aren't. We did not have lofty expectations, we just
wanted to put out some Cds that we liked that might not fit in
anywhere else. We have covered a lot of ground in 10 years and hope to
continue the journey for another 10.
This would not have been possible without three VERY important groups
1) We are eternally grateful to all the people that have worked with
us behind the scenes. The employees, the interns, the sales people and
distributors around the world that we have worked with, the
publicists, etc. This has truly been a team effort and we have been
lucky to have worked with some great team players.
2) YOU! We are also beyond grateful for our loyal and patient fanbase.
Despite not really having a sound, or look or ever being considered
"hip", we have developed a strong identity thanks to you, our
supporters. By buying Cds, shirts, tickets etc. you enable us to keep
going. We know that no one loves everything we do, but it is nice to
see so many willing to try things with us. We take nothing for granted
and appreciate everything you do for us. It is not easy to survive in
this economy and in this often times hideous industry.
3) Finally, it really is all about the artists. Damn, it is cool for
us to look at our discography (on our updated website!). So many cool
releases. They are all important and special to us. The artists we
have worked with are not only talented but damn fine people too. That
makes all the work we put into it worthwhile. Our artists are our
friends, I can honestly say. Not every record has sold a ton, but we
measure success by looking beyond the accounting sheets. You all
deserve platinum records!!!! THANKS for letting us work with you.
Ok, that's it for now. Happy Birthday to us all!!!
Greg, Mike & Shawn