= Spring 2 0 22 =
 

 

elcome to the first Rumbles of 2022. Spring is now upon us, please sit back, grab a brew and settle down for a few reviews of some of the recent releases, which may well have flown under your collective radars.

So without further ado, we kick off with a group with a relatively unknown British band fronted by Matt Wool, namely The Fugitives whose new album Everyman on Woolgang Records present a sort of grown up rock with prog overtones. Indeed John Helliwell from Supertramp features on a couple of tracks blowing some distinctive sax. Matt’s electric piano announces the album and again it is very distinctive, very much like sticking on a tramp album. Some of the tunes are very radio friendly, like the sardonic ‘15 minutes’ and ‘In Your Life’. The band are comprised of Matt who plays keyboards and sings, James Hender gets to grips with all the guitar parts and never strays far from serving the songs, the rhythm section is ex Lloyd Cole & The Commotions Stephen Irvine drums and Michael Captain bass. It’s a nice melodic album, with enough variation to maintain interest. Contact matt at woolfgangrecords@gmail.com

 

Up next is a new album from Trail Records by Sky Cries Mary entitled Wandering The Vastness, which features the noted Seattle guitar player Jack Endino. It’s a sprawling affair which has some pretty good moments, if you can get past the opener ‘Crystal Gazing’, which for me is the weakest song on the album and could just do with some calming down, but patience is rewarded on the following ‘L Train’. ‘Red Red Fox’, is one of my favourites, it features vocals recorded on a cell phone inside a piano from up on Lookout Mountain. The instrumentation on the album is varied taking in all manner of strange instruments, like Darkglass Microtubes, Occult synthesizers, Behringer, Deepmind 12, Moogs, various guitars, wooden flutes and drone boxes. The band is made up by Roderick Wolgamott, Ben Ireland, Jack Endino, Kevin Whitworth, Curt Eckman, Debra Reese.  There are some great collaborative songs like the expansive ‘Chaos At The Port’ and ‘Raga Metal Machine’. The album ends with the trippy ‘Dream Yourself To Sleep’. www.trailrecords.bandcamp.com

 

A man who sure knows his way round a Weissenborn guitar is Steve Dawson whose new album Gone, Long Gone has been on my stereo plenty since arriving a month or so ago. He is a master guitar player, who since moving to Nashville in 2103 has been busy surrounding himself with some fine musicians like fiddle player Fats Kaplin, in demand drummer Jay Bellerose, Hammond player extraordinaire Kevin McKendree etc. But the show belongs to Steve whose slide guitar playing is up there with some of the top players like David Lindley and his vocals are on the warm side think JJ Cale or Jim Croce. It ranges from the brass inflected opener ‘Dimes’ and rocks out on ‘Skeletons In A Car’, through to sublime Hawaiian style songs like ‘Kulaniapia Waltz’. Favourites are ‘Bad Omens’, and ‘Just Get Lost’, it also features a very cool cover of the old Faces song ‘Ooh La La’, his playing is fabulous on point throughout this album. Apparently he is going to putting out an ambient pedal steel album in the not too distant future! Find it here www.stevedawson.ca

 

 It wouldn’t be a Rumbles column without an album on the Sounds In Silence label and so this one is no exception featuring their four latest releases OjeRum Stovfald gets to put out his second album for the label following on from the acclaimed Alting Fader I Samme Rum in 2019. It is the solo project of Danish musician Paw Grabowski. This new one consists of two long –form compositions which prove to be a balm in this mad time we are living in. Built around the swelling hypnotic drones which he is known for, they have a dream like quality, shot through the fog; they possess an ambient film like quality, soothing and gentle. Julien Demoulin gets to release his third album for the label Everything Forgotten, Everything Remembered again built around ambient drones and delicate layers of electronica, the album is a distillation of his sound, beat less and cathartic, drifting icy synth tones, loops and hypnotic melodies. The seven pieces here accented by the ethereal vocals of Maryam Sirvan and the vocal drones of Alex Copeland. I’m reminded of artists such as Harold Budd and it would appeal to fans of Stars Of The Lid and A Winged Victory For The Sullen. The Kids And The Cosmos Ambient Mix Tape Volume 1  a new artist to the label is British Composer Justin Lee Radford although he did release an EP entitled Warmer Weather in 2019 on the label as one half of HIN with Jerome Alexander. The back story to this is pretty sad, born out of Justin holding his Nan’s hand as she passed away; it is a meditation into the life and spirit cycle of a human being. It is again cathartic and gentle, found sounds, electric piano, synths, subtle beats and choral voices are all beautifully arranged to form another beautiful set of ambient songs, delicate and ethereal, calming and meditave. The final new release on the label is Sweeney Stay For The Sorrow Australian Jason Sweeney gets to release his fourth full length album on Sounds In Silence. This one is a beauty, tellingly mastered by ISAN’s Anthony Ryan. It features songs centered around Jason’s fragile vocals, these melancholic, wistful atmospheric tunes are rendered with warm synth drones, piano, saxophone, electronic glitches, found sounds and minimal percussion. Sounding not unlike a more electronic version of Japan or perhaps Tindersticks. It features songs of loss, acceptance and of hopeful new beginnings. They are all currently available from www.soundnsilencerecords.bandcamp.com

 

Chris Church  Darling Please On his new album the prolific Chris plays all the instruments himself. The guitars sound pretty visceral in Crazy Horse kind of way, the songs are in the power pop style and he makes a decent fist of it, wisely bringing in Nick Bertling to create the kind of big wide open sound he is clearly aiming for and succeeds in achieving. Taking in all points from REM, through to a Teenage Fanclub vibe. The songs rattle through, ‘Pillar To Post’ is a fuzzy delight, ‘Never So Far Away’ has some nice slide guitar and adds plenty of atmosphere ‘Atlantic’ rocks pretty hard and features some fine guitar playing. ‘Bad Summer’, would sound pretty fine crackling through the radio waves and deserves exposure. There are a couple of nice slower songs too with ‘I Wish I Could Say Sorry’, given plenty of room to breathe. The album ends on a high with ‘Triple Crown’, drenched in beauty and reverb. www.chrischurch1.bandcamp.com

 

The Pawn Shop Saints hail from The Berkshires in Massachusetts they have a new album Ride My Galaxy out on Dolly Rocker Records. Led by Jeb Berry who wrote all the songs, plays guitar, bass and banjo, even designing the cover! This is the band’s third album and they deal in a kind of loser’s Americana, Jeb’s forlorn vocals are very much in the slacker mold. The band comprise of Michael O/Neill acoustic guitars, Josh Pisano drums, Chris Samson bass, Alan Taylor keyboards with Amy Attias fiddle and local surf punk legend Jimmy Blister adding a few guitar solos. Classic car songs such as ‘Chevy Nova’ and ‘Outlaws’ rub shoulders with some Big Star vibes delivered on ‘Diane’ with kudos for mentioning Material Issue in the first line.  ‘I’ll Be Missing You Again’, is a haunting sparse song about lost love. ‘Too Low For Tupelo’ is a ramshackle country song infused with psychedelic style lead guitar. ‘Wicked’ aims for the Dead and the Stones and is highlighted by dobro and slide guitar and comes across to me a bit like East River Pipe in country mode. Available from www.jebbarry.com

 

The prolific Clara Engel is back with a new album Dressed In Borrowed Light. Hailing from Toronto Clara is a singer songwriter who plays a kind of dreamy folk music, the songs are given acres of space to develop and stay in the brain through clever use of words and melodies. She is a highly distinctive musician who has produced an atmospheric album of wonder. Utilising a subtle palette of instruments from cello, lap steel, shrutti box, morin khuur to layers of atmospheric electric guitars and found sound, the album is a winner, albeit a little one paced, populated with songs about birds, flowers, and the wonder of nature. Lyrics like “sowing seeds in a bed of snow” songs such as ‘Flame Tree Sings’ remind me of bands like Coil and the album closer ‘Silver Scythe’, is cloaked in a narcotic, nocturnal atmosphere, accompanied by yearning lone lap steel notes and fluttering percussion. This is an album to truly get lost in, highly recommended indeed. www.claraengel.bandcamp.com

 

Rodney Cromwell  Memory Box   Founder member of the band Saloon which featured Alison Cotton in its ranks has put out a solo album very much synth based echoing the classic kraut rock bands such as Neu and Kraftwerk but also early Human League. Robotic treated vocals and presets are the order of the day. Bouncy nuggets such as opener Intercom mix with haunting tracks such as the title track Memory Box, whereas tracks such as Fluctuations are firmly in the motorik style. He has supported bands such as Pram and Death And Vanilla and was part of Damo Suziki’s backing band for a while. Rodney is not his real name that would be Adam Cresswell, the album was recorded in South London over the past couple of years and is varied enough to hold my attention throughout, standout tracks for me are Calculations with shades of Brian Eno and the icy strains of the closing track The Winter Palace a pure synth pop song. Available from www.happyrobots.co.uk

 

A CD arrived in the post from a band called The Mentulls entitled Recipe For Change. It didn’t come with a note or as press release and is firmly in the prog flavoured adult oriented rock bag, I’m reminded as it spins around of bands like Mike And The Mechanics or Asia. There is some fine playing throughout and a little investigation reveals that they have opened for bands such as Wishbone Ash and Focus and they certainly have the chops. This is their third album and the first to feature new vocalist and multi instrumentalist David Neil Crabtree. This kind of band would do very well with enough exposure; I can just hear these songs blasting out of Radio 2, with some excellent lead guitar, sparkling keyboards and a driving rhythm section they are a fine melodic prog/ pop rock band. It’s available in a signed or unsigned version from www.themerchdesk.com

 

Sometime something turns up quite some time after it was released and so is the case for an EP by a band/person called Bearhug a lo-fi CD, released in 2020 in an edition of forty copies and sent out with a hand written note. It immediately reminds me of indie bands such as Hefner, indeed the vocalist could well be Darren Hayman. The note says he will be releasing new EP every month , some better than others, all under different band names, well most of them and all with different themes. The songs were mostly recorded on the fly, some in less than an hour on an old 4 track cassette player found in the loft, he/they play ukulele, acoustic and electric guitars, bass. Cryptically the note says he was bored by the recording process of his last band, it was all becoming a little stale and when he discovered the old cassette player it reminded him of a time when recording was fun. I wait to see if anything else materialises, it has certainly piqued my interest. I can’t give you any order details as there aren’t any.

 

Werewolf Hair  S/T is the work of Andy Godwin guitar player and amateur pedal steel enthusiast. I would say that this is a pretty ragged affair, mostly home recorded or in the back of his car, even recording some parts on a park bench, it is low fi in the extreme, testing the limits of this reviewer’s tolerance. I can’t get to grips with it and needed a lie down afterwards. I can definitely see potential though, but he just needs to calm down, he says in the blurb that he was aiming for a kind of Aphex Twin being in a country band type of vibe. www.lauurecords.bandcamp.com

 

Rick Kemper has featured a few times in the Rumbles section over the last few years and releases something every three or four years or so it would seem. His latest EP is called Omnavibe and consists of 6 tracks; it was complied during extensive research into his family’s history, the tracks all differ wildly, kicking off with the title track which is basically a two and a half minute guitar solo. This is followed by a vaguely Eastern sounding, snake charmer of a song, then a heavily amped, guttural slide guitar appears and someone stamps on a bagpipe. The next track is a Native American number replete with howling wolves, oh I see this is still the same song! All of which gives you some indication as to the eclectic nature of these songs. It is released as a C60 cassette with download available at www.omnavibe.bandcamp.com

 

The Remittance Men  Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Men Some Classic Americana now from the Northwest of America on the outskirts of Boston. The Remittance Men are basically the vehicle of singer songwriter Tom Robertson who on first hearing sounds like Ryan Bingham. If you like grizzled singer-songwriters then you feel quite at home with the songs of Tom. Pretty piano fills, drifting steel, fiddles, fine baritone guitar licks and a sympathetic rhythm section frame these songs of high seas, hit the road songs and wide open spaces, the fine details observed on songs like Avery Hill show a keen eye. A Room In Birmingham, England 1919 features Eileen Jewel, Tom also covers Tom Petty’s Down South to fine effect and Hacienda Santa Rosa is decorated with barroom piano and accordion. This album represents Tom’s first time in a recording studio but you wouldn’t know it as he sounds like seasoned pro. The album is well produced by guitarist producer Andy Santospago and was recorded at Mammoth studios by Dave Westner. It is released on the Blonde On The Tracks record label and is available from www.theremittancemen.com

 

The Davey Johnstone Band  Deeper Than Roots. Released by Cherry red records and licensed from Spirit of the Unicorn Music is a new album, (almost 50 years since his debut) by Elton John’s longstanding guitar player (and one time Hookfoot member! - Phil) Davey Johnstone, who for this album gets to do his own thing. He has written all of the songs on this delightful album along with co writer Rick Otto. Vocalists are mainly Elliot Johnstone with one by Vanessa Bryan and Davey himself on a couple. It’s a real family affair with no less than four Johnstone’s on many of the songs Elliot, Charlie, Jesse and Davey, it also has some nice vintage sounding mellotron. The instrumental ‘Walt Dizney’ is an early highlight. Old sparring partner Nigel Olsson fills the drum seat for the gorgeous ‘Melting Snow’. The double tracked guitar in ‘You Lied To Me’ sounds great, and ‘Deeper’ is a real tour de force with many guitar parts, it maybe a tad too over emotive. Another instrumental highlight is ‘Black Scotland’ with some cool sitar and biting guitar. The tootling mellotron is back for a well placed Beatles cover of ‘Here, There and Everywhere’. This varied record ends with the gospel moves of ‘All The Time In the World’, complete with choir. Find it here www.cherryred.co.uk

 

About ten years ago I bought a promo CD by Jeffrey Foucault, it was his debut album and I was quite blown away. Since then he has released many albums and has now started a new record label called Blueblade records, which neatly leads us to new signing Dietrich Strause whose new album You And I Must Be Out Of Our Minds is terrific. Dietrich is a new name to me, but apparently this is his fifth album, he has played with some of the classic modern American folk artist such as Anais Mitchell and Sarah Jaroz and played as a session musician for artists like Kris Delmhorst and Rose Cousins. He  is also a noted luthier, carpenter and illustrator. He started out playing Trumpet and is the son of a preacher and public schoolteacher. Dietrich is currently in the process of moving to the UK, his songs are full of light and shade, incorporating instruments such as muted pianos, farfisa, ace tone organ, vibraphones, marimbas, analogue tape delays, moogs, wurlitzers, mellotron and synth trumpets. This would appeal to fans of Bon Iver and Sufjan Stevens. I’m already a big fan and he really uses the spaces in between the notes to fine effect, making the record a delight to listen to, it has oodles of space and nothing is hurried. Highly recommended indeed and available here from www.dietrichstrause.com  

 

A few releases now from the small but perfectly formed bedroom label that is Folk Archive. David C Briggs has been quietly releasing some CDs in very limited editions of 40 or so copies. His latest David C Briggs S/T Folk Archive is a quirky; it starts with on a nautical theme with the eccentric ‘I Am A Cuttlelfish’, a fishy tale of limpets and barnacles. Psychedelia is never far from the surface especially when he cuts loose on the many, electric guitar solos, peppered liberally throughout the record. Groovy moves abound on the twangfest that is ‘His Head Was Turned’. ‘She’s A Nightowl’ is another winner, echoey and spacey. It’s lo-fi with a home recorded feel, but never fails to draw you into his world, a world which is not a million miles from that of some of our eccentric singer songwriters such as Robyn Hitchcock or Julian Cope. Another new record out on David’s label is Zeuk’s  Minutes  which delivers 24 songs with a duration of about a minute each, hence the title. It’s an eccentric thing with songs about Lemmings, Sleepwalking, Meat Vans, Museums and Mushrooms as well as topical songs such as ‘Emily’s Mask’. He accompanies himself on guitar, keyboards and various percussive instruments and adds samples and dialogue; obviously the songs are in and out in the blink of an ‘Opal Eye’. If you don’t like one then you don’t have long to wait until another one hoves in to view. He would appear to be another English eccentric not a million miles away from Syd. The latest release on David’s label is by Enslave The Zombie S/T on which Albert, Erik, Gave and Kenneth Zombie deliver 8 psychedelic songs. The record was recorded at Big Pink studios in Kongsberg in the spring and summer of 2021. It’s purely instrumental, kicking off the rockedelic stomp of ‘Surf Rock Chicken’, through the grunge of ‘James Bunghole’ and ‘Electric Foetus’, with its buzz saw fuzzy guitar fest. ‘Captain Crimson’, does indeed take in Frippertronics, as does the excellently titled ‘Squirmy Wormy’. It ends with the progtastic grunge of ‘Darkbone’, which shape shifts halfway through. It is a short, sharp record with no fat on the bones, just guitars, bass and drums.  Find them all at davidcwbriggs.bandcamp.com


Horde Of Two  I Knew I Was A Rebel Then Out on Shrimper records is the vehicle of guitarists David Lester and bass player Wendy Atkinson. It kicks of with ‘Durruti : A Life In 8 Parts’, a twenty two minute song in 8 separate parts, based on the life of Spanish anti-facist Durruti, it twists and turns its way through various phases, a lone guitar with a spoken word beginning yields to speech segments, distorted guitar and warm entwining bass figures, it’s a bit of an epic. The other tracks showcase the two musicians in playful mode; this is especially evident on ‘If I can’t Dance’, which has grunts and bursts of laughter. ‘No Own Owned Anyone’, features a cool walking bass figure and interesting percussive sounds. Sounds form the Toronto subway inform ‘The Third Rail’. Punk rock rears its head on ‘Courage And Fortitude’, a song based on the lynching of Wesley Everest, which clatters and clangs its way merrily along for a while, until we hear a snippet of an old workers tune which then dissolves to more rifferama. The record ends with the suitably abstract ‘Time On End’. Contact hordeoftwo@gmail.com

 

Un-Scene! Post Punk Birmingham 1978-1982 Various Artists New out on Easy Action records comes a cracking album of artists from the classic era of punk, featuring bands such as The Hawks, The Nightingales, The Prefects and Swell Maps amongst others. It features recently unearthed studio recordings, demos, and fairly rare and obscure tracks. I think this may be the first deep dive into this scene; London and Manchester are the usual ports of call so to speak. Highlights are ‘Idiot Strength’ by The Nightingales, ‘Big Store’ by The Hawks, the excellently titled ‘The Bristol Road Leads To Dachau’ by The Prefects, ‘Birmingham UK’ by Dada and TV Eye’s ‘Radio Station’. It was put together by notable Birmingham musician and designer Dave Twist and features sleeve notes by Stewart Lee. Available from www.easyaction.co.uk

 

James Domestic Carrion Repeating released on Kibou Recordings. Suffolk based punk musician James is many things, a former bandleader of The Domestics, was in Tokyo Lungs and numerous other bands, he also holds a doctorate and is a published poet. On the opening track ‘Itchy Itchy’, which begins with a basic rudimentary guitar figure before the first words are expelled, much like the way in which our national treasure Ian Dury would start his songs “Are you a right fucker, or just a fuckee, are you fine cuisine or own brand beans”. Think Mark E Smith crossed with John Cooper Clarke. ‘Faze Out’ is fairly hardcore punk and he obviously has a distrust of authority, which is apparent in songs like ‘Bean Counter’. Other touchstones would be Madness and The Sleaford Mods. There’s plenty of humour too in songs like ‘Giblets’, ‘Weekend Carbs’, and ‘Holiday’. My favourite though has to be ‘Manana’, all about things you are intending to do in the future and of procrastination. www.kibourecords.bandcamp.com

 

Terry Edwards And The Scapegoats  My Wife Doesn’t Understand Me. Terry is a notable saxophonist and has played on more sessions than I have had hot dinners. This album was first released on CD only in 1995 and now gets a vinyl release. It covers a lot of ground with politics, alienation, humour and sarcasm all rearing their heads. The Scapegoats consist of bass player Jem Moore, drummer Ian White and his old sparring partner from the Higson’s Ian Watson on Trumpet. It’s a punky, funky, jazzy album, which works well as a whole. It also features a couple of cover versions with A Taste Of Honey and Jean Pierre. It is released in an edition of 500 x vinyl copies, in store for this year’s  record store day.

 

Also there are a couple of essential 7” singles to tell you about, the first is by Burd Ellen The High Priestess and the Hierophant’ which is out now on Thread recordings and well worth tracking down. Burd Ellen are made up of Debbie Armstrong and Gayle Brogan and together they create an immersive folk sound. The A-side is a version of the Child ballad Fair Annie, a song which takes a look at arranged marriage and maternal love. The B-side is also a trad song which Debbie learned from Eliza Carthy find it here www.threadrecordings.com  The other 7” single is from the excellent record label out of California Hyponitic Bridge, they released my favourite single of last year by The Chemistry Set (who also have a new album due to be released on Fruits de Mer records very soon). It’s by Mark & The Clouds and taken from their most recent album Waves. The A-side is ‘You and me in Space’ and the B-side is the rather lovely ‘Clocks’. www.hyponoticbridge.com

 

Well that about wraps it up for the time being, hope you are all doing fine out there in these strange times and thanks for reading.

Terrascopic Rumbles for Spring 2022 was brought to you by Andrew Young. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen - © Terrascope Online, 2022