SnC 414 – Eastbound
There are Echoes of distant terror this Holocaust Memorial week with a track from San Francisco’s Blind Willies and another with altogether more contemporary resonance from DakhaBrakha who are based in Kiev and have friends missing elsewhere in Ukraine who are, hopefully, being held hostage.
Add to that an epic from NYC’s Stargroves and something of a rarity – a new album from My Visor and we’ve got quite a show. As if that wasn’t enough Static People are in from SF sporting a delicious mix of dirty pop and melodic indie swells.
Monkey Scratch – Static People (SF, CA, USA)
Static People is germinated in post/punk/alt turbulence, a mix of dirty pop and melodic indie swells.
Formed in 2008, the band released their debut album “The Late Projectionist” in 2011, and promptly won the Best Punk/Post Punk Artist 2013, Artists in Music Awards, Los Angeles for the single Toxic Overload.
Their follow-up EP entitled “Rare Creatures” has just been released.
Produced by Jason Carmer (Dirty Ghosts, Camper Van Beethoven, Kimya Dawson, The Donnas, Molotov, Los Amigos Invincibles, Chuck Prophet)
Recorded at Fantasy Studios October 2013
Dmitra Smith: Voice, keyboards, piano, wurlitzer
Pascal Faivre: Guitars
Shawn Miller: Bass
Michael Urbano: Drums(Red House Painters, Paul Westerberg, Cake, Smash Mouth, Cracker, Third Eye Blind)
Cremo Tango – The Blind Willies (San Francisco, CA, USA)
Alexei from The Blind Willies in San Francisco has been in touch about their new album which is approaching completion.
All these songs are about freedom and whatever the opposite of freedom is, within our selves and in our relationships with others. There’s no shortage of political and personal definitions of freedom. Politicians, whether fascist or democratic, use freedom as a tool, a badge of honor, a gun, a token pin on a lapel. At Auschwitz, ARBEIT MACHT FREI, forged in iron, stood as a warning and a promise at the main entrance gate. Work makes you free. In George Orwell’s 1984, the façade of the Ministry of Truth building has three slogans carved into its concrete: WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH. They’re just words, but words resonate and evolve and mutate and become what we want them to mean.
Blind Willies is a San Francisco rock Americana band led by singer/songwriter Alexei Wajchman. The band began at San Franciscos High School of the Arts as a duo playing covers of American folk songs and Alexeis originals which he began writing when he was 15. After their professional debut at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, the bands first two releases of all original songs, The Unkindness of Ravens(2007) and Everybody’s Looking for a Meal(2008), were highly praised.
To mark Holocaust Memorial Day this last weekend. A simple and evocative song in the finest tradition of protest.
Cremo Tango was inspired by Tadeusz Borowski’s autobiographical story collection This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentleman, and by the day I spent walking inside Auschwitz-Birkenau. My inspiration for Big City was the pleasure I’ve enjoyed these last few years singing songs with children. The two songs seem natural bookends to me so that’s where they are. Horror and hope, surrender and survival, hate and love, atrocities and possibilities. The songs between are a river of reflections on those themes.
No Time For Love – Spottiswoode & His Enemies (New York, USA)
English Dream, Spottiswoode & His Enemies’ sixth studio recording, is a haunting new departure for the New York septet. After winning two Independent Music Awards for 2011’s Wild Goosechase Expedition – a poppy and satirical romp about a rock band’s doomed tour – the band returns with a beautiful and much more atmospheric set.
It’s an English record, written and sung by an Englishman but recorded in Brooklyn by a New York band. “Our fourth record, Salvation, was Americana,” says Spottiswoode, the band’s songwriter and frontman. “This time we’ve gone Anglicana and made a pastoral collection of songs about nature, love, childhood and the other side of the pond. It sounds different from anything we’ve done before. Organic and very open.”
The first single off the album is “No Time For Love”, a piano led number delivered as a duo harmony by Spottiswoode and trumpeter Kevin Cordt. It combines a sixties retro vibe both in melody and sentiment with some contemporary piano pop cred, plus a touch of boogaloo brass.
“No Time For Love” is the only song I wrote at the piano for this record. It’s also the last song I wrote for the record. I thought we needed an upbeat catchy pop ditty. This is what came out.”
Referred to as a “genius” and a “downtown ringleader” by The New Yorker, Spottiswoode is the son of an American singer and an English clergyman. WNYC’s John Schaefer describes him as “one of New York’s more colorful band leaders for more than a decade.”
Spottiswoode & His Enemies features Spottiswoode (vocals, guitar), John Young (bass),Tim Vaill (drums), Candace DeBartolo (saxophone), Kevin Cordt (trumpet), Riley McMahon (guitar, mando- lin, glockenspiel), and Tony Lauria (piano, accordion, keyboards).
If You Ain’t Never Had The Blues – Boo Boo Davies (St Louis, MO, USA)
Boo Boo Davis is a survivor and belongs to the last generations of musicians that write and play the blues based on first hand experience of a hard life in the Mississippi Delta. He was born and raised in Drew, Mississippi in the heart of Delta. It was the richest cotton land in the South and the large amounts of field workers attracted the best musicians from the surrounding areas. The entire Delta region was rich with blues, but the town of Drew was a particularly fertile one. Charley Patton stayed near Drew for many years and several legendary performers spent time there. Sharecroppers sang loudly to help pass the grueling hours of work and without a doubt Boo Boo developed his loud, bellowing voice based on the singing he heard in the fields as a young boy. In fact, that voice, through the years has demolished many amps and speaker cabinets.
Boo Boo’s father, Sylvester Davis farmed cotton and played several instruments. Musicians who he played with include John Lee Hooker, Elmore James and Robert Pete Williams. Boo Boo remembers these and other musicians dropping by and rehearsing at their house.
The new album is called WHAT KIND OF SHIT IS THIS? And that’s exactly what Boo Boo said when we did this recording session.
Unlikely previous recordings we started with recording his vocals and harp parts and afterwards BLu ACiD created a musical background for these vocal tracks. What you hear is a voice from ‘the delta’ running into 21st century technology. Like moonshine, this music was slow brewed in seclusion during all-night-and-day marathons attended only by the two BLu ACiD members and the ghosts of the past, who were eager to have their voices echo into the modern world.
BLu ACiD is Mischa den Haring and Jan Mittendorp. These two Dutch musicians joined forces in a new production unit. Both of them have more then 25 years of live stage experience and they combine that with 2014 recording and production techniques. In February 2014 they released their first tracks on Black and Tan Records and now it’s time for the first full record; a collection of high voltage electro blues.
By the way…. Boo Boo is very happy with the final result.
Black and Tan has become a powerhouse of creativity in a genre rooted firmly in the traditions of the past. That they are successful suggests that their work is based on a deep appreciation of the most subtle nuances of the blues. These they bring to the mix in ways which reveal them as deeply experienced musicians who, far from pillaging the blues, are paying deep and respectful homage.
Karpatskyi Rep – DakhaBrakha (Kyiv, Ukraine)
From their album Light.
A shadowy procession to the pounding of drums, to the murmur of a cello, morphs into an anthem, an invocation, a wild and wacky breakdown. Drones and beats, crimson beads and towering black lambs-wool hats all serve as a striking backdrop for an unexpected, refreshingly novel vision of Eastern European roots music. This is the self-proclaimed “ethno-chaos” of Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha, a group that feels both intimately tied to their homeland, yet instantly compelling for international audience.
“We just want people to know our culture exists,” muses Marko Halanevych of DakhaBrakha, the remarkable Kyiv-based ensemble that has broken down the tired musical framework for Ukrainian traditional music. “We want people to know as much as possible about our corner of the world.”
Refined yet saucy, eerie yet earthy, Ukrainian music has languished in relative obscurity, though its achievements are diverse and sophisticated: complex polyphonic singing with interlocking lines so tight the ears buzz, long and philosophical epics, humorous ditties, instrumental virtuosity, and raucous dance tunes. Ritual and ribaldry, urbane composition and rural celebration, Asian influences and Western harmony all combined to give contemporary musicians a true wealth of potential sources.
DakhaBrakha knows these sources well: the three female vocalists have spent many summers traveling around Ukraine’s villages collecting songs and learning from elder women in remote areas. Like these village tradition-bearers, they have spent years singing together, a fact that resonates in the beautifully close, effortlessly blended sound of their voices. Marko grew up steeped in village life, and draws on his rural upbringing when contributing to the group.
Consumption – My Visor (Norwich)
As all the band members work full time this album and all the writing, rehearsing, recording, mixing etc has been woven round what little free time we’ve had, with some of it even being completed in Scotland, where Kat is currently residing.
Instead of giving the album away for free as we did with our first two, we thought we’d see how we fare on the digital market place in the hope that we’ll make enough for a vinyl release later on down the line, (Hey, we’re the poor person’s band and proud!) so we’ll keep you posted.
With Kat being so geographically far away, live gigs will sadly be a major challenge so as a way of promoting this album we’ve released a music video which we recorded back in 2012 here: ‘Consumption’
We’re also, for a limited period of time, giving this song away for free! You can download it from our new soundcloud page here: https://soundcloud.com/myvisor
Back To The Fold – 3rd Independent Album by my visor released on all digital platforms 28th April 2014!!**
Formed by Kat MacGregor and Keith Brown in 2004 in the city of Norwich, UK.
Ten years and three albums later, here we are on SoundCloud.
Performing live as a four piece with Matthew Osborne on drums and Mr. Bromley on bass guitar, and sometimes as a five piece with Si Holden on second guitar and keys.
You can find Kat and Keith’s other bands/projects here:
Kat – soundcloud.com/children-o-the-mist
Keith – soundcloud.com/keefykeef
Hats in the Air – Stargroves (NYC, USA)
The album is built on a full rhythm section that includes Teddy Watson (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, banjo), Charlie Rauh (lead guitar, supporting vocals), Bryan Percivall (bass guitar, supporting vocals), Brad Whiteley (keyboard, synthesizer), and Max Maples (drums). The group’s lead single “Hats In the Air” is a deceptively upbeat track that’s less indie than the rest of the record. However, just like the movie upon which the track’s music video is based (Harold and Maude), there’s melancholy lurking under the surface.
In 2012 Teddy took an exotic three month hiatus to Iceland to get away from the constant drone of NYC and focus specifically on music. In the solitude of Reykjavic, Teddy relearned how to listen, to embrace the beauty of silence, and loudly celebrate the victories. Teddy returned to NYC with the majority of the debut album written.
“When we were coming up with a music video concept we talked a lot about tone,” explains Teddy. “I feel like the imagery in the lyrics is dark while the tone of the song is happy, creating dissonance.
This is not superficial indie pop: Stargroves is orchestral pop with brains, heart and soul, sharing much in common with the sardonic humour of Emily Haines of Metric.
All the songs were recorded at Threshold Studios in New York City from summer 2012 to summer 2013, The record was produced by Teddy and engineered by Jeremy Sklarsky. Enrico de Trizio also played a role in production.