= Spring 2 0 2 4 =
 



elcome to this Spring 2024 edition of Rumbles.


For various reasons it has taken slightly longer than I would have liked, so I would like to thank all the patient artists who sent an item in hoping to see a review.

Spring is finally here following a long wet winter, so throw those curtains wide, settle down in your favourite armchair and dive in for a few pearls of, if not wisdom, and certainly not Swine,
then at least joy...

Steve Dawson has produced and played on a new album by slide guitarist Sue Decker. For this new album Sue has utilised Steve’s guitar to the max and put down her own to concentrate on her singing. She does play lap steel on one track ‘Cheatin’ Side Of Town’ though’. She has a voice that’s quite similar to Lucinda Williams and this particular record sounds a bit like Lucinda backed up by Ry Cooder. The other players are Dave Jacques – bass and Justin Amaral – drums. Steve himself plays all the guitar parts and as usual his playing sparkles throughout, the album is entitled ‘Keeping Time’ and is self released, you can find it here at www.suedecker.com, it’s a cracking album that takes in rock, blues, country and folk, some folks call it style.

A new solo album by Jim Griffin called ‘Marginalia Suburbia’ has been twinkling away quite regularly since it arrived a few weeks ago, he may be known to readers from his group Zombie Picnic, he has put out a couple of albums on Reverb Worship and also had a limited lathe cut 7” on Fruits de Mer. Guests and collaborators have included Jonathan Sharp from the Heartwood Institute and a dream come true for him appearance by legendary Blue Oyster Cult founding member Joe Bouchard. This new solo disc is out on Australian label Ramble Records. It sees Jim all on his own, with an album of found-sounds, field recording s imbued with gentle, electronic instrumentation. It is slow music of acoustic guitar loops, birdsong, Mellotron etc, inspired by his hometown of Limerick. For inspiration he has cited Virginia Astley, Michael Tanner and David Colohan, all of those will be well known to Terrascope fans, it is a lovely album which you can find here www.ramblerecords.bandcamp.com

Rookery Ensemble  ‘Islets Of Langerhans’.  South east London band, Rookery Ensemble have taken some time to craft a lovely sprawling double album of note. The band principally consisted of George Harris and Alison O,Melia , Alison unfortunately passed away from a terminal illness shortly after completing the five years of sessions and meetings which went into the making of it and her presence is felt throughout the album. The rest of the players are Mark Hill-electronics, Erik Moore- bass and percussion, David Rothon- Omnichord and pedal steel, Mitzy Valentine- flute, Jessica Cahill- hurdy gurdy and Demi Sabat Garcia- drums. It is an expansive record of which George and Alison are at the heart of, half of the sales generated from the recordings will go to St Christopher’s Hospice. I must apologise for not reviewing it earlier as it was released a year ago but copies are still available, it is a rewarding listen, many spoken word narrations, bought to life by some wonderful players, where radio effects and electronics swirl against hurdy gurdy, flute and Omnichord. You can find it here www.rookeryensemble.bandcamp.com

V/A ‘D-Day A Grateful Dead Tribute From Krautland’.  16 songs created by a dozen bands and soloists from Germany on the Lollipoppe Shoppe record label. This various artists album was released at the tale end of last year and has been played through plenty of times with plenty of surprises along the way. Unusual arrangements of familiar songs. The musicians involved are Blind Joe Black & Toin Marika, Cosmic Kangaroos, Markus M. Steinbach, Tom Liwa, Sparifankal, Wuide Wachl, Fit & Limo, Temple Of L.I.B, Philipp Eisenblätter, The Lost Verses and The Last Temple. Stand out tracks for me are Fit & Limo’s recasting of Dark Star, Blind Joe Black and |Toni Marika’s lovely cover of Ripple, The Last Temple’s Brokedown Palace and Markus M.Steinbach with The Lost Verses Fire On The Mountain. www.lollipoppeshoppe.bandcamp.com

Also released a t the tale end of last year was a new solo album from Jon Langford & The Men Of Gwent ‘Lost On Land & Sea’ out on Country Mile records. Joe will be familiar to readers through his music as a founding member of The Mekons, this is his third album for the label and sees him going from strength to strength on a cracking album of terrific songs which take as inspiration some local history. Some of the themes explored include songs of homelessness, immigration, selkies, second hand car dealers, housewives and exploding mines, all delivered in his own inimitable style. The band is made up of Jon guitars and vocals along with Matt Grey also guitars and vocals, Julian Hayman mandolin and vocals, Mark Price bass, Barkley McKay keyboards and Erik Stams drums and percussion. The album was recorded in South Wales by Richard Jackson, file under local history. You can find it at www.jonlangfordthemenofgwent.bandcamp.com.

Algis Fediajevas ‘Po trejṷ metṷ’. Lithuanian native Algis from Vilnius is a new name to me and this is his fourth release, on it he sings and plays guitar, lap steel, harmonica, recorder and percussion and is joined by Emma Reed flute and Mark Elliott Akai sampler. It is in the tradition of American Primitive guitarists like Robbie Basho and John Fahey, the songs are sung in Lithuanian, opener Bgantys Ir Sustingę is fairly labyrinthine, with plenty of attack and decay. It’s an immersive listen, with the guitar being the star of the show, songs underpinned by gentle percussion and ringing creaking acoustic guitar. It’s also firmly in the acid folk genre with songs such as ‘Šešė liai’ and ‘kai pašukei’ inspired largely by nature of natural surroundings, he’s well worth checking out. You can find it here at www.resonatingwoodrecordings.bandcamp.com  

 

Les Big Byrd ‘Diamonds, Rhinestones and Hard Rain’  Stockholm band Les Big Byrd return with their fourth album released on Chimp Limbs, they have added a new keyboard player Christian Olsson and locked themselves away in the remote and desolate off season environs of Sandkvie studios to produce a cohesive album of tight instrumentals, bar the title track. The album opens with the ten minutes slow burn of ‘Mareld’, after such an expansive opening song the band then follow it with the hook laden ‘Curved Light’, my favourites on the album are Lycka Till På Färden a great slab of molten psychedelic rock and the lengthy closer The Night Bus with its sleazy saxophone, twinkling piano, luminous bass, sprinkled throughout with synths, the record is further proof of their talent. www.lesbigbyrd.bandcamp.com

The Rhynes ‘Everything The Wrong Way Round’ Flipron piano player Joe Atkinson has put out a record on the Tiny Dog record label, I’m not sure why he decided against putting it out under his own name and not that of a band, after all he plays nearly everything on it apart from the drums which are by Matty Bane from The Neville Staple Band. This is his second album as The Rhynes, It is an album of concise, hook laden pop rock songs, often invoking a breezy summer day, sort of Teenage fanclub meets Wreckless Eric in feel, where jangly, chiming guitars and infectious melodies and harmonies form the backbones to songs such as ‘When Summer Comes’, ‘Turning Around’ and Jennifers and Anyways’. I particularly enjoyed the title track ‘Everything The Wrong Way Round’, ‘You Don’t Have To Be Alone Anymore’ and the closing track ‘Don’t Make It Right’ with its pretty bar- room piano, swelling Hammond and Dylanesque wheezing Harmonica. It’s a pretty decent album which bodes well for the future. www.tinydog.co.uk

Tommy Hale ‘All At Sea’ Dallas, Texas singer songwriter returns after an eight year gap following on from his excellent album Magnificent Bastard, Tommy is once again reunited with Simon George Moor, Johnny O’Sullivan and Dan Tilbury from the London based band The Snakes and has returned to the same Wiltshire studio of Mooncalf. The album has had a rather long gestation period because of Covid and the loss of his Father in 2019. It’s an album of original songs plus a couple of covers, ‘Esperanza’ by Tex Smith and ‘Radio Towers’ by Greg Vanderpool. He does a fine job on a suite of songs that take in rock, alt-rock and power pop, a meeting of Texan roots based rock with English attidude. The Snakes prove to be a great vehicle for Tommy, fleshing out the songs with some low scuzzy swagger, I’m reminded a times of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed but also of the Stones. The title track ‘All At Sea’ impresses greatly as does ‘How The Story Goes’ it even contains what could be a hit single in ‘The Cardplayer’. www.tommyhalemusic.com

Marc Valentine ‘Basement Sparks’ Marc’s debut album released a couple of years ago won him plenty of fans and this second one follows on from where ‘Future Obscure’ left off . He has enlisted the services of Dave Draper again as producer; he also contributes guitar, keyboards, bass and vocals. Also playing on the record are the Snakes leader Richard Davies on lead guitar duty, plus bass player Steve Fielding, drummer Denly Slade, Carol Hodge adding vocals and keyboards also Emily Ewing adds vocals. Marc was a principal member of the Last Great Dreamers, a London based band during the nineties and has been signed up by Steven Van Zandt’s Wicked Cool record label and roster of artists, indeed I get snatches of Springsteen, albeit one with a foot firmly in the Power Pop genre. Lyrically the songs ruminate on solitude, science fiction, reality and politics, indeed ‘Tyrannical Wrex’ is a great play on T-Rex, ‘Strange Weather’ is a catchy, hook laden blast of pop rock and ‘Eve Of Distraction’ is great, as is ‘Skeleton Key’. He has a distinctive voice, the songs are well written and well played, the record could do well given enough exposure, I for one can certainly see them being played on the radio. https://propermusic.com/marcvalentine-basementsparks

The Lonely Bell ‘The Absent Years’ The Lonely Bell is the vehicle for the music of Ali Murray, a Scottish musician from way up there on the windswept Isle of Lewes. He has a new cassette out which will also soon receive a vinyl release, it’s on the German label Oscarson who specialise in lathe cuts and very limited releases with special art, the art for this was created by Katie Griesar and I for one will be in the queue to buy one. His music is slow, almost glacial, the feeling I get from his music is like trying to see through fog, or as the Scots say a Haar. I am writing this review in the bleakest of weathers with rain lashing down, under leaden grey skies and the music suits this kind of weather, where distant piano and ghostly melodies gently spool out, it is immersive stuff, music to get lost in. Ali has been quietly releasing a series of albums and EP’s, beginning with his eponymous release in 2015. I won’t pick out any individual tracks but the record flows beautifully, it is bleak but in a good way, I suggest a visit to his Bandcamp page for further exploration. www.thelonelybell.bandcamp.com. Limited cassette and vinyl albums are available from the 1st March at www.oscarson.bandcamp.com  

I’ve really been enjoying the latest release from Malcolm MacWatt ‘Dark Harvest’. Malcolm follows his previous album ‘Settler’ with a really strong folk album stuffed to the gills with great storytelling, he’s not afraid to tackle and highlight some thorny issues such as slavery, imperialism, politics, anthrax poisoning and climate change to name a few, The record starts with ‘Strong Is The North Wind’ a song about the need to vote for change. ‘The Church and The Crown’ follows, it’s not at all preachy but certainly knowing, here’s a sample line “The nobles and bishops grow fat on their lies”. ‘Empire In Me’ is a gem of a song, on it he is joined by Angeline Morrison, she has a beautiful voice and will be known to Terrascope fans, as she has appeared a few times at a couple of Terrascope events, such as Woolf festival. The title track ‘Dark Harvest’ is excellent, it is about a “wee dark island where the seeds of death were sown”, this track also features vocals by Nathan Bell. I won’t dissect each individual track but I could, it could well be my folk album of the year and it is only February. www.malcolmmacwatt.bandcamp.com

It wouldn’t be Rumbles without featuring a release from the Sound In Silence label. Two of their artists Jason Sweeney (Sweeney, Panoptique Electrical) and Richard Adams (Hood, The Declining Winter) joined forces, forming Great Panoptique Winter they first collaborated on an album released in 2015 called “Wildness”, and have done so again for “This Time Alone”. It’s a bit more of an e.p really, but at thirty minutes is the length of some albums. The two swopped files from one side of the world to another and are yet to meet in person, but this does not seem to have them from producing a thing of quiet beauty. It’s post- rock synth-pop, which meets at the crossroads of Brian Eno and David Sylvian, six tracks of haunted, atmospheric music, which although being very modern, harks back to the early eighties. Like all of the labels releases it is available on limited edition, hand numbered collectible discs with sumptuous packaging, find it at www.soundinsilence.bandcamp.com   

D.A.Meeks ‘I Am Here To Represent A Piece Of Wood’. Limited edition Vinyl only, eachwith hand printed jackets. This solo, acoustic, singer- songwriter folk album was released at the tail end of 2023, on Deceitful Ear Recordings. I know nothing about the artist, it didn’t come with a press release or note, plus there is nothing on the internet, however right from the first few seconds I know that I am going to love this man’s work. Bill Callahan (from the band Smog) immediately came to mind. These are deep, dark unaffected songs. His acoustic guitar playing is in service the songs and is in the American primitive style.

 

The songs ring true, inspired by nature and the elements. They follow a strict order, much like the metronomic ticking of a clock. 14 unadorned, naked songs, songs bought to life by his precise words, each one dropped into each line quite methodically, much like the great poets do. I can’t find out much about him except the record was recorded inside a cave in Kentucky and it rings straight and true. This is a fairly stark record, purely voice and acoustic guitar, with just a touch of double tracking on the vocals, no scratch that, the only other sounds we hear apart from him is by Lacey Guthrie, whose voice helps summon a trio of golden snakes on ‘Brother Thomas’. Oh, and he lives alone and only eats honey. www.dameeks.bandcamp.com

 Bart Moore ‘Wild Flora’ Bart is a singer songwriter who is a veteran of the San Franscisco alt rock scene, an idiosyncratic, whimsical writer who seems to revel in subverting the typical heart on the sleeve type singer- songwriter; he comes across as playful and peculiar at the same time. This is his third album, it’s self released and also features a few guest musicians , lots of fiddles and mandolins add flesh to the bones of his more than rudimentary guitar, he cites Dylan and The Pogues as inspiration and to show how current he is name checks Billy Strings, quirky songs like ‘Heavenly Daze’, and ‘October’, topics include railroads on ‘The Rail Yard Ghosts’, religion on ‘God Is Just Plain Lazy’, baseball on ‘Tuesday Afternoon At Wrigley’s Field’, art on ‘La Paloma’ and Native Americans on ‘Comanche Land’, all in all it’s a pretty fine album. www.bartmooremusic.com

Ruth Moody ‘Wanderer’.  Founding member of The Wailin’ Jennys Ruth is a singer songwriter from Manitoba who has a couple of albums under her belt and also been on the receiving end of a couple of Juno awards. In 2010 she decided to go solo, this album follows a brief break to start a family and it shows she hasn’t wasted any time, returning with another fine set of songs. She has the voice of an angel, pitched somewhere between Shawn Colvin and Laura Veirs and accompanies herself on guitar also playing mellotron and banjo. A whole slew of musicians enhance these lush, verdant songs of quiet beauty. It has been produced by Tucker Martine and also features guest vocals on one track ‘The Spell of the Lilac Bloom’; standout songs for me are ‘Seventeen’, ‘Coyotes’ and the title track ‘Wanderer’.

Ah, time for some good old English indie now, with the second release on Gard Du Nore from Robert Halcrow’s Picturebox ‘Mobile Disco’, think Lawrence crossed with Papernut Cambridge. Picturebox are Robert Halcrow, Ian Button, Ben Lockwood and Alex Williams, Jessica Nelson adds oboe and flute. It is quite a short album of future indie classics. Faintly glammy, scuzzy songs, which according to the press release show traces of Syd Barrett, Blur and The Beatles (although for me Hefner and The Kinks would be more of a correct reference), half remembered hymns and British TV.

It was recorded in Canterbury, but for me does not reflect this setting, it’s much more rooted in London and the home counties, a couple of lively instrumentals rear their head in ‘Lennie Godber’ and ‘Ram-Raiding With Eunice’. We are treated to memories of our youth with ‘Dial A Disc’. Sad, lonely drivers on ‘The Car Of A Man That Drives Alone’ and tradesmen on ‘Utility Contractors’, standouts for me were the nostalgic melodies of ‘Nice Boys Mobile Disco’, ‘Addendum’ and the bonkers instrumental that is ‘Considerate Constructors’,  There is also a short narration by Stephen Evans on ‘The Biscuit Man’. It’s available on limited CD from Good Friday; more information can be found at www.garddunordrecords.co.uk  

John Simms ‘Light Trails’. Should you have a hankering for some fluid, progressive guitar in the style of say Allan Holdsworth or Jeff Beck, then you are in luck, as a new album by guitarist extraordinaire John Simms has just been released. This is the second album, following on from the first Light Trails album which we reviewed here a few years ago. John may well be known to readers by his first band Clear Blue Sky and has since collaborated with many fine musicians throughout the years.

The song titles should give some indication of the music on offer here ‘Dreams Of The Tellurian’, ‘Rendezvous In The Stars’ and opener ‘Trip Into The Light Fantastic’. Maxine Martin adds her sultry vocals to a four songs, John is also joined by David Hendry on keyboards and synths, David also did the trippy, colourful artwork. John’s superb guitar playing is the reason for getting this album and he truly shines on a series of stunning songs, which reflect the years of dedication to his craft. It is released on Stargaze International and more information can be found here at www.clearbluesky.co.uk 

Rob Clarke ‘Blues, Beats And Brel’. Rob returns with a new album, after a few featuring a full band he felt it was time to record a solo album, it’s a stripped back affair which he says was “born on a diet of old blues records, beat poetry and Jacques Brel accordion sandwiches as I struggled to make sense of the world outside”. We reviewed his last few albums which we enjoyed immensely. For this album he plays acoustic and electric guitar, organ, light percussion, harmonica, banjo and bass and is joined on piano by Fran Ashcroft and accordion by Jo Powell. It’s a charming record of well observed songs, which for me are all the better for their fairly unadorned accompaniments. Highlights are ‘Tik Tok’, ‘Fridge’, ‘Crusherun’, a cool, rockin’ song which I can’t pretend to understand, the Parisian strains of ‘You Don’t Talk’, and the sparse, ramshackle closing song ‘My Old Banjo’. www.robclarkeandthewooltones.bandcamp.com 

I will end my set of Rumbles with a few new releases on the Fruits de Mer record label. Firstly a new recording of a classic song by the English Kaleidoscope ‘Faintly Blowing’ by The Chemical Set’s Dave McLean. This is Dave’s first solo release under his own name and is available on an 8” lathe cut in such miniscule numbers as to have sold out before I’ve even had time to  address it, but fear not Dave will soon be making it available along with extra versions on a CD. It features two versions of roughly the same length, with the second one being more heavily phased version. Guitars lazily ring out, Mellotron cloaks the vocals and the whole damn thing is a shimmering, narcotic delight.  The melody played on the Mellotron is a new addition to the original and fits in well, flashing guitars and Eastern vibes meet classic English psych, great stuff indeed. www.fruitsdemerrecords.com   

Also out on Fruits de Mer are two new CD in their An Introduction to series of compilations. The first one is An Introduction To The Honey Pot, with Crystal Jacqueline. The Honey Pot have been described as the West Country’s answer to Jefferson Airplane and to be fair that is a pretty apt description of them, like the other discs in the series (all of which exhibit excellent value for money) it includes some bonus tracks only found on these compilations. Here we have a lengthy Venice from the Honey Pot’s album The Secret, a live version of the Airplanes White Rabbit from The Half Moon pub and an exclusive version of a Kinks song Shangri La.

The other release is An Introduction To Anton Barbeau which collects plenty of long out of print material. Anton is nothing if not prolific.  He is a singular singer -songwriter, considering his heritage of being born in America, he exudes a great deal of Englishness, a mix of Syd Barrett, Robyn Hitchcock and Julian Cope. This is a particularly fine set, with a few extras thrown in to entice us. The first of which is ‘Cellar Bar’ from his Stranger album, a previously unreleased gem in ‘Third Eye’ and just to gild the lily a fine song buried away on a live in Glastonbury DVD ‘Trouble Was Born’. Scattered throughout this album we get covers of Big Star, Bowie, Traffic and Donovan amongst others, along with a few originals like ‘Beak’, ‘Secretion of the Wafer’ and ‘Heavy Psychedelic Toilet’. As I said earlier these discs represent excellent value for money and are a great way to find all of these long out of print and unavailable recordings. www.fruitsdemerrecords.com  

Over to Simon Lewis for a few more new releases...

Let's start as we mean to go on with three excellent releases from the Morctapes label beginning with “Lo Becat” - Lise Barkat and Lisa kauffert, an album created with two bagpipes that drone and hum over one long 25 minute title track. As you get dragged deeper notes begin to intertwine creating new melodies and textures, the music both minimalist and trance like, taking you on a journey whilst, in the background, a lonely rhythm adds a pulse to the mix. With its slowly changing harmonies and repeated phrases you can't help but be reminded of the work of Steve Reich or the more hypnotic moments of Can, however the instruments chosen give the piece a sonic structure all its own, one that is easy to get lost in. Slow and beautifully haunting, the songs of Mariska Baars creep under your skin on  “ / Lamb’ ”, the latest album from Soccer Commitee,  containing  just five sweet tunes that slow your heart rate and make life better. Favourites include “Reaching” a tune with the ambience of a Japanese garden in the rain, soft and beautiful, whilst the longer “Imagining You in the Room”, highlights the vocals, drifting and floating across the room in ambient perfection. An album that is far too short and one I could happily play on a loop for a very long time.

 

Finally on Morc Tapes, and possibly my favourite of the three albums, we have “Eclipse Des Ocelles” the debut solo album from Roxanne Metayer, a heady mix of violin, field recordings, drone and melody, the violin taking centre stage creating all manner of textures, pulses and drones throughout the collection. Opening track “Mille Pics” is an early highlight that leads you into the forest with an enticing swagger before “Plus Brume, Que Lune” leads you off the beaten track with its atmospheric drone, whispering flutes and vocals, kind like stepping into a fairy ring with your eyes closed. Further in “Opalescentes Epopees” is a ritualistic cloud of sound stretching back in time to summon your ancestors, the album ending with the playfulness of “Au Pas”, leading us to the edge of the forest and sounding like it could have been recorded by Vangelis for his “Earth” album. Hats off, as ever, to The Morctapes label for three more excellent albums, find them here. ( morctapes  ). 

 

Telling the tale of Hare, his adventures and encounters, “Valley of Stars” is a sweet and delightful album from Ben Bedford that contains some excellent guitar work, strong melodies and a warm heart that makes it easy to enjoy. Opening track “Leaping” introduces our hero in a joyful way before “Wolves” gets us going highlighting Ben's guitar prowess as well as his fine voice which brings the tunes alive. Sounding like a lost seventies singer/songwriter classic, “Murmurations” is a Hare's prayer, painting pictures in your mind whilst “Leopard and Hare” touches on the sadness of existence in an emotional and beautiful way, a tune that needs to be listened to. As the hare moves through his journey things take a darker turn when he meets and is bitten by an Adder, then encounter beautifully portrayed on “Adder” a slow and darker piece, his sickness mirrored on the instrumental “Stars and Skywheel” the guitar creating hallucinations with various effects, reminding me of John Martyn and taking the album into more abstract territory for a while. After all his adventures Hare finally reaches sanctuary as told in “In The Shelter Of Indomitable Momma Bear” a short and twinkling guitar piece that is warm and welcoming and the perfect way to end the album. I have listened to this album several times recently and it gets better every time, a small classic. (Ben Bedford ) 

 

Citing Krautrock, Psychedelia and Experimental Electronic music as influences Manchester duo Mind Control System Live up to their billing on “Indenticide”, this their second collection contains five long tracks born out of improvisation and also use portions of music first recorded 20 years previously, all of which makes for some fine results with opening piece “Drones”, hitting the sweet spot with heavy guitars, swirling atmospherics and samples reminding me of Hawkwind on a good day and demanding you turn the volume up. With a more ambient flavour and heavy on the electronics, “Slaves” is dark and atmospheric with dystopian vocals and a heavy heart, whilst “Lurker” is sludgy and dense coming across like a grunge inspired space rock band on a red wine bender. Finally the ten minute “Machine Learning 4” mixes everything that has gone before and runs with it creating one epic voyage, up goes the volume again. ( Mind Control System  ) 

 

Next up three albums from The Conspiracy, a UK group, on an Australian label,  based around the songwriting talents of Duncan Pope – vocals/lyrics and Dave Bell – guitar/tunes. First up “Harvest Festival” features songs written between 1997-99, the music a mix between Power-Pop, Jangle and Psychedelia, the guitar nice and bright in the mix and the vocals very often engaging. An early highlight is the heavy guitar riffs of “Changes”, a tune filled  with life whilst “Andy Partridge” has a Jangly Neo-Psych feel reminding me of Paul Roland. Elsewhere, “The Plough” has a subtle Reggae influence and some sweet keyboard melodies,  that sweetness retained on the lovely “Tenderhooks” a rather beautiful acoustic based tune that could easily be a hit in another universe. Moving on, the album “The New Zeitgeist” sees the band slip deeper into Psych territory, sounding like a band that would have been right at home on a Delirium Records compilation especially on opening track “Bridie” and the moody rumble of “Rage”, the ryhthm section keeping the song moving as the guitar shines above. Nice and heavy, “Vincent” deals with the life of Mr Van Gogh without sounding false or patronising, good stuff. To round off the album, there are two bonus track, “Epic (into the 60's)” and “Time”, the latter opening with swirl of synths and concerns the adventures of Ali and her chosen doors, a spoken word tale that draws you in with its inventive and intriguing lyrics, then suddenly stops, an interesting way to end an album. Finally we get to “Festivals 2000-2023” the band embracing electronic technology as the years roll on with “Apple Zapple” (2020) hitting the spot with dancing sequences above the guitar and bass, the lyrics amusing and engaging, whilst The short “70's Ycdr” is a Glam-Punk tunes with a nod to Mud in its lyrics. Getting the foot tapping, “We Dance”, nods to Industrial electronics as it grinds on, foot-tapping despite the oppressive nature of the tune. With nice and squelchy acid sounds “Predator” could do with extra volume as it slowly builds the tension, another Delirium moment that sees the band expanding the soundscapes again. After a fine and lively ska infused cover of “I Hate You” (The Stranglers) , the album ends with the electronic pulse frenzy of “Ambient Disco”, Disco it maybe, ambient it is not especially when the drums reach Thrash metal level and the power chords kick in although the synths then claw back control again, bringing melody back into the mix. Over three albums there is plenty to be enjoyed, definitely worth investigating. (metal postcard records ).

 

On the same label and also featuring Duncan Pope -lyrics/vocals, Little Bohemia, are a straight ahead rock and roll band, three chords and a dose of truth as can be found on “Behind The Disney Parade” an eleven track collection that will blow away the cobwebs and get you leaping around the kitchen wondering if it is too early for a beer, it isn’t! , favourites include, the joyful stomp of “Magnificent”, the seventies punk riffery of “Why?” and the heavy drum driven “Granite Club” , up goes the volume again. To be fir there are a few lighter moments on the album, musically at least, the acoustic led “Pandora” being a good example, but generally the energy level remains high and a bit of variation is often welcome.  

    

Mixing soft, melancholic drones with folk melodies, songs and spoken word, “Beacons of the Wilderness”, the latest album from Ben McElroy is a delightfully pastoral journey that touches on loss, longing and an ever changing world, the ambience generally sweet and thoughtful. Opening with the title track we are greeted with a rolling drone that is nostalgic and warm, vocals and synths mixed with field recordings and spoken word creating something rather wonderful that sets the tone for what is to follow, it reminds me of Nick Drake, a mix of strings and acoustic guitar, topped off with a fine vocal delivery. Elsewhere on the album “They Fall Like Rain” is a gorgeous drone, lightened by drifting violin and Clarinet (possibly) , the spoken word section questioning what it will actually take for people to notice of climate change, birds falling from the sky perhaps! Over 8 tracks the atmosphere of the album remains tinged with sadness yet hope, the sounds calm and relaxed with “Bleating” the only tune to add dissonance to proceedings. Designed to be played live I imagine that this would be an immersive and highly enjoyable performance. ( Music | Ben McElroy (bandcamp.com) ).  

 

Keeping with the folk vibe, Nat Brookes creates new textures and compositions from traditional tunes on her debut album “Cormorant”, the music influenced by classical structures creating music that is very familiar yet also modern and captivating. Opening with “Mushroom Vent/Cormorant” the sound has touches of Vaughan Williams and Minimalism, the repetition of Steve Reich applied to folk melodies both atmospheric and emotional in its delivery. Playing Accordion and Piano Nat is joined by Deb Chalmers – Violin/Viola, Sam Partridge – Flute and Tom Evans- Guitar/Bass the instruments creating drones and rhythms over 9 excellent pieces, each beautifully played and arranged. Favourites include the delightful sprinkle of notes and melodies that is “Nat's Groovy Tune”, the long and deeply absorbing “The Abbey/Motorway Mazurka” a slow and stately tune that is almost chamber music and the closing piece “The Good Old Way/Ultra Breath” a piece that emphasises the traditional aspects of the album and leads you out with a merry dance.  Having listened several times I find there is much to be explored with concentrated listening but it is also excellent music to be played when involved in something creative such as lino cutting or sewing. (bandcamp.com)   

 

Yet more folk inspired music can be found on “The Flood” a 12 track collection from Edinburgh based band Wayward Jane The music reminding me of the work of Josephine Foster mixed with Alasdair Roberts, maybe you will agree after listening to “Edinburgh Rain” the fabulous opening track that paints pictures, evokes memories and just makes me smile. After the instrumental and traditional sounding “Brokeback” ,droning violins dancing over banjo and guitar, the band tackle “Shake Sugaree” originally written be Elizabeth Cotton and a tune that often crops up on albums destined to be rumbled. Here the arrangement is bright and lively, the banjo keeping time with the bass, getting you moving whilst some lovely vocals add to the sweetness of the cover. On the title track, the band really come alive, the musicians having a good time intertwining with each other to create an excellent piece of music that has a complex arrangement with an emotional centre, the track followed by the delightful song “Down The River” the lyrics evoking landscapes in your mind wonderfully. An album well worth a listening to and best enjoyed with a glass of something cold by the firelight. (bandcamp.com)  

 

 Taking us back to Laurel Canyon, Alice Di Micele, offers us an excellent cover tunes on “Interpretations vol 1” including a mighty fine of version of “Old Man” showcasing her strong and emotive vocals and a delightful acoustic guitar sound. After a sweet and gentle version of “Give Yourself to Love” (Kate Wolf), things kick up a notch with a moody version of “Death Don't Have No Mercy” filled with some great guitar work from Dirk Price and Nick Kirby, who also plays the drums, whilst the organ adds atmosphere thanks to Skip Edwards, add the bass of  Rob Kohler and another strong vocal performance and you get a magnificent bluesy rock tune that takes you back to the early seventies. Another highlight is the cover of ”Sugaree”, a nice, crisp production bringing the song to life whilst backing vocals add a soul touch to the tune. Ending where we began, we round things off with another Neil Young cover, this time “Harvest Moon” is dusted off, staying pretty close to the original and sounding mighty fine. Cover tunes are a strange thing, some you love some you just wish they had left the damn thing alone, thankfully this collection is well done and is perfectly suited to a sunny afternoon. (bandcamp.com)  

 

Next up a couple of albums from Folk Archive Edition beginning with “Minutes Two” a collection of 23 tunes that all last a minute from Zeuk, each tune containing three track/instruments two added to an original, mostly improvised, idea. When I read about the album I was expecting more abstract, experimental, droning sounds, but what we have here all sound like the beginning of actual songs, which is where the problems lie for me. I would really like to hear the tunes reach a more logical end rather than be time constrained. Of course you may disagree and there is plenty to enjoy amongst the sounds on offer. It is definitely worth checking out, but slightly strange.

  

Featuring some full length tunes “The Armchair Traveller” is a collection of Psych tunes from Davis C W Briggs that are slightly twisted and surreal rather than being out and out psych, the lyrics adding to the sense strangeness whilst the music wraps itself around your head delightfully. Highlights include the jangly “A Look Inside  Skull” which reminds me of very early Porcupine Tree whilst the 12 minute “That's it for the Long One” mixes Syd Barrett with Robyn Hitchcock to great effect, drawing you in with its repetitive charms and some lovely guitar work. Elsewhere, “Neighbourhood Watch” Takes the Syd Barrett comparisons and runs with them the whole shebangtaken home by the delightful “Are You Receiving ?” a song that you will find yourself singing long after the album is finished like one of those little acoustic tunesthat Floyd liked to put on their seventies albums. (bandcamp.com) 

 

Released on the aptly named Drone Rock Records, “The Unheimlich Kingdom” is the 4th album from Cambridge based duo Psychic Lemon and features 4 tracks of unrelenting guitar noise and primitive rhythms. Opening with the brilliantly named “Trepanning For Gold” the band waste no time at all, a relentless riff set free and allowed to stomp all over your head for seven glorious minutes the tune becoming denser and denser as it rides off into enternity. Opening with a drum beat that makes you want to sing “Hey Mickey You're So Fine” in a death metal voice, “Cognitive Dissidents” soon becomes the bastard son of Loop and Hawkwind, destroying your senses whilst hiding a melody amongst the squall. Dense and cloaked in sonic fog, it is hard to tell what is making the noise in “National Psycho Geographic” a tune propelled by rumbling drums and a thick slab of noise, stark and good for your soul. Finally, and just as you were thinking you could see light at the end of the tunnel, the title track comes crashing in, 20 minutes of undulating noise, this time with more variety than previously, sparkles of light and melody twinkling through the drones, the music taking you on a trip around the universe locked inside a brutalist steel spaceship dark portholes allowing only glimpses of the outside whilst inside strong drinks are served in a smoke wreathed bar with no clocks or exits in sight. Best served at full volume in  darkened room there is great beauty to be found in this album, just let it wash over you as you slide into the abyss. (bandcamp.com)

  

Seeing as we are on a noise trajectory it’s time to make our ears bleed a bit more American/Japanese band Client/Server fill the room with slowcore riffs and spooky vocals on their album “Hexetanz With No End” , four tracks that slow Sabbath down to 16rpm and then run them through a whole host of distortion pedals all topped off with hazy female vocals and a sense of impending doom. As Usual the longest song, “Hexentanz” is found at the end, if I was you I would remain lying on the floor in that darkened room and slowly slip into the abyss again, you know it makes sense.(bandcamp.com)   

 

 Way back in 1998 the Ptolemaic Terrascope released its 25th issue, within the pages was a special whereby, if you renewed your subscription you got a free CD from the Little Wing of Refugees label. The choices were from Space Farm, Mushroom, OHO, Necronomicon or Ballyhoo, I went for OHO and a fine album it turned out to be, weird guitar prog that still sounded good this morning as I ate my toast. Where is all this leading you may ask, well, one of the musicians in OHO, Singer/guitarist Jay Graboski  has just released a solo album, “Authentic Fake” the collection demonstrating that Jay has lost none of his vocal power, the tunes containing a very similar sound to OHO although they have lost some of the weird psychedelic touches, happens to us all as we get older, maybe. Personal highlights include the horn drenched “Die Before You Die”, the strangely twinkling yet noisy, “Mired In Malaise” and the sweetly grooving “The Hours”. To be fair, there is no bad track on the album and it flows beautifully. Also included on the album is “The Dagger Chandelier” EP, an extra six tunes that seem like a natural extension of the album with “The Crown” being my fave from the added tunes, Seems I am enjoying some brass at the moment. The only problem I have with the whole thing is that I cannot find out where you can actually buy one. There is a dedicated OHO site and the disc is released on OHOmusic but it doesnt seem to have a shop. Here is a link anyway (ohomusic.com)  

 

 Filling the room with sweet jangly Psych-Pop, Karen Zanes gets right to the heart of the matter on “Rockets Of Desire” the opening, and title-track from her latest collection. With a rumbling bass at its centre the tune sparkles and drifts propelled by a shimmering guitar and Karen's beautiful vocals, whetting your appetite for what is to follow. On “Cold Spring” Mellotron sounding keys add texture to a strummed guitar and metallic percussion, another mellow tune that is followed by the similar sounding “Old School” a tune that reminds me of Windy and Carl. With a more electronic feel, “It’s So Pretty”, has a melancholic air and a repetitive guitar riff that anchors the tune as the vocals weave above. Stopping me in my tracks, “Pulse” is a haunting and delightful song with rippling guitar notes, slide guitar embellishments and voice, sparse and worth playing several times as it is way too short. Finally, “The Sky Belongs To The Stars” is an acid folk tune with weird echoed vocals, organ backing and lovely lyrics rounding off a quiet classic.  (bandcamp.com)   

 

We don't often review Jazz at the Terrascope, although we do like it, however when it reminds me of Pierre Moerlen's Gong in both structure and sound then I reckon it is worthy of a few words at least. So welcome in The NJE (Near Jazz Experience), “Live In London” a three piece band featuring Mark Bedford – bass, fx, Simon Charterton – Drums and Terry Edwards- Horns, melodica. Opening with the relaxed groove of “Spirit Of INDO” the band soon lock in the rhythm section leaving plenty of space for some inventive horn playing, whilst on “Tizita” There is a funky and relaxed Latin feel, creating some sweet lounge jazz rock, On “Five Years” The Melodica takes over and you suddenly realise you are listening to an ambient, atmospheric Bowie cover, things getting stranger as the electronically treated “#3” takes over, some fine bass holding it all together reminding me, strangely, of Yargo.  More great bass can be found on “Knife Edge” which could be based on the ELP tune, hard to tell but it does walk into Prog territory, with a Keith Emerson audible in the horn playing. Ending with another cover, the band turn “Voodoo Child” into a late night, smokey delight, rounding off a very fun and entertaining listen, even better live I would imagine. (bandcamp.com)  

 

Does anyone here remember The Church, an Australian band we used to listen to often way back in the distant past. As tastes change, new bands emerge we all moved one occasionally digging the albums out for a nostalgic spin, they still sound mighty fine, but never imaging that the band were still going strong, but they are with the rather excellent “The Hypnogogue” living proof to the fact. Telling the tale of a machine that can extrct music directly from your brain, and what it does to the protagonists in the tale, the album is a dystopian  concept album that sound just like the band did back in the day but updated and with a fuller sound. Main man Steve Kilbey is still driving the band onwards and the songs are filled with his jangly guitar riffs, distinctive vocals, plenty of melody and inventive playing all round. It is hard to pick individual songs as the whole album is rather epic, in a good way, each tune flowing into the next but the pairing of “I think I Knew” / “Flickering Lights” is a perfect representation of the sound and feel of the collection. Great stuff, maybe it is time to see what happened to some of my other early musical heroes. When you visit the website put The Church in the search box otherwise it is a bit of a minefield to navigate. (Easy Action Records )  

 

Released on a limited edition (53) lathe cut7”, Get up and go/slithering (Live) are two previously unreleased tracks from sixties legend/weirdo/visionary Tommy Histon,whose story is told in Andy Bracken's excellent book “Folklorist – the Tommy Histon Story” which we reviewed last year. Recorded in the UK in 1964, the a-side is a weird folk psych tune that reminds me of Roky Erickson, the chorus repeated over and over throughout the song whilst primitive percussion holds it all together. On the b-side “Slitherin'” is a dark garage tune that squirms from the speakers in mono delight, atmospheric and hypnotic in equal measure. Released on the Gardener's Delight label and already sold out. Trying to find a link to the label is proving difficult you could try this email for more info. putitonpromotions@gmail.com . 

 

Finally from me I would like to draw your attention to GRGPNK records. I am not sure if they are even a thing now but their Bandcamp site contains 10 volumes of compilations featuring some mighty fine Garage Punk tunes with all the bands members of the garage punk hideout social network group. I have no idea if this exists any more either but the albums, last one published in 2014, are a magnificent legacy to the music found within the community, fuzzed guitar, snotty lyrics, ghouls, vampires, lost love, revenge, murder and just plain old madness, it is all there somewhere just go and explore. ( GRGPNK Records)   

 

Thanks for those insights Simon, right that just about wraps up another edition of Rumbles, happy trails and hope to see you somewhere further on down the line. Andrew.

 

Terrascopic Rumbles for Spring 2024 was brought to you by Andrew Young and Simon Lewis.

 Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen - © Terrascope Online, 2024