SnC 347 – Racing with the sun

Marseille-based Chinese Man feature this week with a superb video for Miss Chan – from their album Racing With The Sun.

With music ranging from the deliciously quirky pop to the downright “interesting”, you’re almost certain to find some point this week where our respective musical tastes coincide. Probably.

This week we’ve tracks from LA, London, Marseille, Dublin, Regina and Winnipeg in Canada and the almost chewable Mönchengladbach in Germany as well as the inevitable track from New York.

AccWeather forecastI’m not dwelling on the Sandy situation in New York, my friends and contacts know they are in my thoughts and I know that the NY “can-do” attitude will prevail and things will probably get back to normal faster than anywhere else in the world.

The only point that struck me as mildly amusing was the fact that the forecasters were predicting Sandy to come ashore close to Asbury Park, New Jersey. Of course Bruce Springsteen was singing about “Sandy” in connection with Asbury Park almost 40 years ago!

Then again, AccuWeather came up with this wonderful understatement of a Night forecast before Sandy struck.


Bumblebee – Rachel Brown (NYC, USA)

Rachel Brown released her debut EPBuilding Castles on September 18th. The singer-songwriter, who was born and raised in New York City with Ethiopian, Bermudan and Southern roots, fuses pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country, hip-hop and world sounds into Building Castles‘ six self-penned songs.

The EP’s first single, “Bumblebee,” will be accompanied by a music video directed by Rex Arrow Productions founder Ian Wolfson (Mac Miller, Nelly).

With no formal musical training, Brown found her voice organically. “I would pick up my guitar and teach myself how to play by writing songs,” says Brown. “I just played until it sounded right.”

Peers and established veterans alike quickly recognized Brown’s natural talent. She was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award for songwriting as well as a 2011 recipient of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting. She also received a very coveted showcase slot at the National Association for Campus Activities’ national convention, leading to a 40-date college tour.

Brown’s music also caught the ear of one of her favorite musical influences, Wyclef Jean. The week after she graduated college, the singer received a surprise when Jean brought her up on stage to perform an impromptu duet of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” at a fundraiser held at New York’s legendary Cipriani 42nd Street, and most recently Jean joined Brown onstage at her residency at NYC’s famed supper club, The Darby on W 14th St.



Slow Crawl – Garrison Starr (LA, CA, USA)

Slow Crawl” was co-written with Kevin Devine who also contributes some fine guitar to the track. It’s from Garrison Starr’s recent album Amateur

Her first full-length since 2007’s The Girl That Killed SeptemberAmateur is co-produced with musician Justin Glasco (Dan Wilson, Cary Brothers, Matt Nathanson) and features contributions from Glen Phillips, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Kevin Devine, Gary Jules and many more.

What a long strange trek it’s been. During contractual stints with Geffen, Virgin and Vanguard Records, Starr released a wealth of critically acclaimed material that intimately connected with listeners. Now nearing her 20th Anniversary as a recording artist, and free from the confines of the agendas and politics of record labels, Garrison is confidently hitting her stride, both a seasoned songwriter and an accomplished entertainer.

Long gone are the “brand” names, but the passion remains the same and that’s what comes over in the music.

Firmly embracing the new paradigm of the burgeoning era of DIY that allows for user-generated navigation, Garrison has self-released music via Direct-To-Consumer platforms such as Bandcamp and Topspin (her most recent fan-only “living room” EP entitled Not For Nothing contains a magnificent acoustic version of The Killers “When You Were Young”) and partnered up with publisher Brite Revolution to release a live EP calledRelive that was recorded in front of a select group of fifty friends and fans in Nashville. Starr most recently utilized Pledge Music, (an online “pledge drive” similar to Kickstarter), to fund the Amateur recording.

You can get the album from both iTunes and Amazon under her own Radtown Music imprint.



Spitfire – Public Service Broadcasting (London, UK)

This track is taken from their excellent album The War Room which was released in May.

Their new offering comprises their own version of Everest along with three remixes. As ever, the tracks mix sound from old broadcasts with their own music, to great effect.

You can see / hear the original on the video page there is also a glorious interpretation of the infamous radio description of the navy review at Spithead many years ago, in which the Lt Cmdr Thomas Woodroofe appears to be rather emotional about all the little fairy lights 😉

They have live dates coming up in Chelmsford, Southampton, Brighton (sold out), York, Hull, Derby, Leicester, London, Bristol and Cardiff. Details on their site.



John Peel Centre benefit concert

As you’ll be aware, SnC is pretty keen on a local arts centre which is doing great things to provide a space for creative activities in Stowmarket, here in Suffolk. It takes the name of former local resident and proponent of independent music, John Peel.

The first ever John Peel Festival of New Music took place a couple of weeks ago as part of Norwich Sound + Vision.

Within that was a pretty impressive concert featuring The Fall, The Undertones, Bearsuit and Dingus Kahn who all volunteered their services to raise funds to continue the renovation of the former Corn exchange in Stowmarket to provide state of the art facilities and ultimately, a John Peel’s legendary record collection.

Fortunately, the gig was held at Epic Studios which just happens to be the woking base of our chum Charlie Gauvain and concert excerpts and interviews with The Fall’s Mark E Smith and Michael Bradley and Paul McLoone of The Undertones available have been compiled into a great video.

See it here:


Prairie Girl – Rah Rah (Regina, SK, Canada)

Fall 2012 sees the release of The Poet’s Dead, the third and most accomplished album to date by Regina, SK sextet Rah Rah. Building on the strong foundation of their last release, the critically acclaimed and iTunes Canada championed Breaking Hearts, this new ten song effort effectively captures a band at the peak of their abilities doing what they do best.

The Poet’s Dead, recorded in late 2011 under the production guidance of indie-rock recording geniuses Gus Van Go and Werner F (The Stills, Hollerado, Priestess), clearly displays that Rah Rah has truly fine-tuned the essence of the band and refined the maturity of their sound.

“Recording with Gus and Werner was one of the most rewarding challenges I’ve ever been a part of,” says band member Erin Passmore. “They understood how and when exactly to push us and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to create with their help and guidance.”

Rah Rah formed as a trio in 2007, originally created by Erin Passmore (vocals, drums, keys, guitar) and Marshall Burns (vocals, guitar). By 2008 they had been joined by Kristina Hedlund (violin, keys, accordion, vocals) and Erin’s brother Joel Passmore (formerly of Despistado and Sylvie) on bass. Later that year another former Despistado member Leif Thorseth (guitar) also joined the band. The band is rounded out by its newest member, Jeff Romanyk (drums, keys, guitar).

The members of Rah Rah share a collective mentality, taking turns taking the lead, both in songwriting and while on stage. The melodic male/female vocals and shared instrumentation traded off seamlessly (Erin Passmore and Jeff Romanyk both play drums, keyboards and guitar, while Kristina Hedlund plays violin, keyboards and accordion), plus a true level of fun throughout ensures that a Rah Rah show will not disappoint.

The Poet’s Dead was released digitally on October 2nd and physically on October 22nd through Hidden Pony Records. Check their site for show dates across Canada and to LA in the next 45 weekas plus the video for Prairie Girl.



Miss Chan – Chinese Man (Marseille, France)

In his somewhat unseemly swag grab at The Great Escape 18 months ago Pete Cogle snagged a promo copy of Racing with the Sun by Marseille-based collective Chinese Man.

It had a massive impact on Pete and, I’ll confess that it hugely impressed me too.

In Pete’s analysis this track, Miss Chang, “starts with a sample of an old Chinese song, on top of a lovely dubby beat, leading into some live vocals provided by Taïwan MC & Cyph4”.

In 2005, Sly, Zé Mateo and High Ku committed their first phonographic havoc. “THE PANDI GROOVE EP”, a mix of influences back from their parents: Reggae, Brazilian Baile Funk and Old School Hip Hop …

Racing with the Sun was released last year (2011)

They have a few live dates planned during November and early December:

08/11/12  PARIS A l’occasion de la sortie de son CD-DVD Live, Chinese Man revient à Paris pour un ultime et unique concert à la Machine du Moulin Rouge à partir de 20h et jusqu’à 00H – SOLD OUT

04/12/12 Cologne (Germany) – StadtGarten.

05/12/12 Hamburg (Germany) – Uebel & Gefährlich.

06/12/12 Hannover (Germany) – Glocksee.

07/12/12 Dresden (Germany) – Scheune.

08/12/12 Berlin (Germany) – Bi Nuu.

09/12/12 Frankfurt (Germany) – Das Bett.

Pete loves this album as much as ever. I can hear why. You can get this and more of their music from iTunes, Amazon and, indeed, from their lovely label site. Check out this superbly crafted video too. It has had over a million views.


Show Me Your Eyes – Royal Canoe (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada)

Royal Canoe is a group of musicians on a mission to construct ambitious, inventive music. The songs are thick with catchiness, rich in rhythm and are consistently pushing against the boundaries of pop music.

They spend almost every day in a shit-hole rehearsal space writing hooks, singing through effects pedals, scrawling lyrics on scraps of paper, and constructing heavy beats in odd time signatures. They create samples by running conventional sounds through unconventional pieces of gear, drumming on bathtubs and garbage cans, listening to Big Boi and manipulating bits of old records.

The band calls Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada home – the enigmatic prairie city, which has served artists as both an abundant, creative watering hole and a debilitating quagmire.



Coming Out To Play – Thomas Allan (Mönchengladbach, Germany)

We heard from Thomas Allan a few weeks ago in SnC 342. Since then, he’s been in touch to say thanks, to resolve a couple of queries and to ask a favour.

“When it was broadcast you weren’t sure if I was from Mönchengladbach or London. Here are the facts: I was brought up in Bury St. Edmunds and then moved to Germany, due to my fathers connection with the British Forces. He was also brought up in Bury St. Edmunds.

I am currently, as you guessed, in Mönchengladbach where I write, record, play and produce all my own music. My time is spent between Germany and England at the moment in an attempt to get my music noticed and also to settle in London to continue my studies.

I really appreciate you broadcasting my track, it makes it all the work worth it, when a man with your musical experience plays a track of mine and likes it.

Due to my music being far more British influenced and orientated, it is not as appreciated here in Germany as I hope it would be in the UK.

Do you have any addresses or contacts that could help me in my mission to “spread the word” in the UK?

Any help would be greatly appreciated!”


We Tried – Bouts (Dublin, Ireland)

This Dublin based guitar-shredding group of rockers, whose video of “Turn Away“, off their latest release, piles a group of their closest friends inside four small walls of a Japanese Karaoke booth, cover those walls with the song’s lyrics and pass around a bottle of Ireland’s finest drink and a microphone. You probably guessed that this is one of their more sing-along songs so for a heavy dose of their guitar loudness, stream and get a free download of “We Tried” off their self titled EP Bouts, which was released Oct 2011. You’ll find it on Bandcamp at

Our track is from their Bouts EP 2011 which was recorded and mixed in 8 days last year. It’s available as a free download  from their site. Pick it up, enjoy it and tell your mates; friend them on Facebook and spread the word. That’s the way it works.

By the end of 2012 the band, comprising Barry Bracken: Vocals and Guitar, Daniel Flynn: Drums and Percussion,  Colin Boylan: Guitar and Vocals, Niall Jackson: Bass and Vocals, will have played nearly 50 shows including numerous Irish festivals and in support of bands like We Were Promised Jetpacks, Wintersleep and Presidents of The USA. They somehow found time to put out a limited edition double A-side 7 inch “Get Sick”//”Turn Away” in March. It’s almost sold out but you may still be able to order a copy.



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