Friday, June 29, 2012

This evening... vinyl only.

Once upon a time radio stations relied on pre-release vinyl. This is one such 7", from 1973, that presaged the release of the album 'Vagabond Of The Western World' (SKL 5170) that was not, as it turned out, destined to rock the world.

Given a couple more years things were to change dramatically in terms of the band; both its core dynamic and the public's appetite for such music. 
The two tracks on the other face of this are 'Gonna Creep Up On You' and 'Little Girl In Bloom'.
As things are going tonight is not going to get beyond 7" singles that I know/or had forgotten that I have. This is a song that, in all probability, you haven't heard for some time...
The original release of it  - VER 1 (1981) - sounds so very dated now, I think.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Music 2012 - Part 18 - Audio Fiction - Worlds Apart

New York's Audio Fiction, which I have mentioned before in relation to their 2009 self-titled album, has just announced the completion of its successor 'Worlds Apart'. It will be released "sometime this summer".  I have no more specific date but here is the artwork for it:

This one was almost entirely funded using Kickstarter: Yet another nail in the coffin of the majors... and I don't think for a moment that the band will mind me saying that.
I'm currently listening to the album 'Audio Fiction' (2008) but I've heard some of the demos from 'Worlds Apart' and, well, I just can't wait to hear it all as it is finally intended to be.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

No Direction Home 2012 - Slow Club

This post is a 'special' - it is for Addi, co-writer of the blog Listologies.
He mentioned his liking for UK-based Slow Club. Charles and Rebecca are originally from Rotherham. Here they are, just a dozen miles from there, live on the main stage at the first No Direction Home Festival a fortnight ago today.

It's not the first time I have seen them. They were awesome.
And the sun was shining too - they are that good!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

No Direction Home 2012 - acoustic days

It is true that I have already mentioned a few of my, more or less, acoustic highlights of NDH 2012. The truth is that they were many and varied and so here a few more. Some hailed from very distant lands, others rather less so, but all of them were very good.
Now where am I to supposed start? Not least because it also includes both the stages that I have not even mentioned yet. Now where should I start with this, too?
Let's go with Urusen, who performed on the Boathouse Stage at 8:30pm on Saturday evening. We will come to the fourth stage later.
This is only two of the members of Urusen...

You know me - I complain when I'm too far away to take the picture that I want and now I'm too close! In fact I'm perched on the front corner of one of their bass speakers for a reason that just escapes me now because that is how festivals are.
This next one is two of the others but Urusen is a five-piece. There is also the drummer whom I never really saw at all...
It is a lovely stage but it has one problem. That is, and for entirely plausible reasons due to its approach access and lake-side location, it has a strictly limited capacity that has to be monitored and that was an issue at times. On the other hand it was certainly a popular stage!
That is not to say that the Electric Dustbowl Stage was short on acoustic action. Far from it in fact and here, on it Saturday lunch time, is 'Tiny Ruins' a two-piece from Auckland, New Zealand. She was accompanied by beautifully appropriate but very importantly never-overbearing double bass and backing vocals.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
It was magical... This is Hollie Fullbrook of 'Tiny Ruins'.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No Direction Home 2012 - electric nights

The slightly curiously named, but very likeable, Electric Dustbowl Stage was in late evening/past midnight the home to acts of an electric and/or electronic bent. Friday's two included a band very high on my 'to see-hear list' and another that was one of my highlights of EOTR 2011.
That first act is Veronica Falls and they certainly didn't disappoint:

They also played three new tracks that are not on the début album that was only released on Bella Union last year. That bodes well for their second LP I'd like to think.
The second, and the revelation to me at End of The Road last September, is Austra from Canada.
Electric Dustbowl head-liners on early Saturday (well actually just into Sunday morning at the start) were The Pyramids. Sharing two members with Archie Bronson Outfit you might care to label them a more raw, more rock version of the same. To be honest it is a little bit more complex than that.
It is pretty heavy and very much written and performed off the cuff, or at least that is the impression it seeks and for the great part succeeds in creating. For those, at least those with the inability of me, the lighting made photography challenging to say the least. This was the best I could manage.
It did, however, evoke the pyramid theme better than I was able to capture.
The following evening, although it started a little earlier it being the final evening, the music was quite possibly even more of a challenge. From California, and with a particular and uncompromising technicolor version of rock-punk, hails Mikal Cronin and his band.
And that's enough to blow any folk/country/acoustic cobwebs away.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

No Direction Home 2012 - into the unknown

A festival should not be judged on headline acts. It would be a poor way to spend three days were it to involve enduring many hours of tedium in the hope and expectation of ninety minutes of heaven at the end of each. A good festival has strength in depth and, quite possibly, it is the so-called 'lower orders' that serve to define the truly good ones.
Well No Direction Home didn't fail on the former count by any means but, where it triumphed in spades is in the most important aspect of all. That it was a continuous source of angst to decide which act to see at all times everyday...
OK, so all three acts opening the Lake Stage were great.

Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog --- on the Lake Stage, in the pouring rain, Friday lunch-time.
I have already mentioned 'Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog', but neither Brighton-based (except when decamped to Lewes!) 'Laish' on Saturday and 'Trembling Bells' on Sunday suffered by comparison.
This next pair of pictures are of 'Laish', performing as opening act on the Lake Stage on Saturday. Well, given the second one, you can see exactly what time it is.

By Sunday you might have been coming rather concerned about the prospects for 'Trembling Bells'. Well, should that have been the case, you need not have worried one bit.
Even without Will 'Bonny Prince Billy' Oldham, Lavinia Blackwall and her cohort was more than effective in carrying off the tracks from that collaboration as well as all the other albums.

Friday, June 15, 2012

No Direction Home 2012 - introduction

This is the very first picture I took and in some ways it served well to set the scene...

Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog on the Lake Stage early on Friday afternoon.
You might have thought the weather awful; you might easily have underestimated 'No Direction Home'. Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog sung all but one song of their set in Welsh but to dismiss that as novelty, or worse, would have been an almost unimaginably huge mistake. No Direction Home is about surprises...