HEAVENLY RECORDINGS (ENGLAND)
Écrit par Guilhem Baudry sur 1 octobre 2018
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Interview with Jeff Barret , founder of Heavenly Recordings :
On paper, Heavenly is a UK independent label founded by Jeff Barrett back in 1990, but anyone who really knows Heavenly is aware of its importance, its relevance, its deep-rooted brilliance and uncompromising naughty, chummy magic that flows throughout everything they do. The Heavenly family possess a borderline-spiritual love for music, expressed with an old-school friendliness that you just don’t tend to come across as much these days. For 28 years through an ever-changing musical landscape Heavenly have developed a sort of teflon cloak borne out of the purity of their intent and uncompromising quest for quality. Their unflinching dedication to good music and their razor-sharp ability to detect artists who can trigger specific, indefinable feelings, is second to none.
While their hedonistic history is one of infinite musical anecdotes, one thing they’re not keen on is dwelling too much on the past. These days they’re currently representing nearly 30 of the most exciting and loveable bands and artists recording today, in a roster that’s never been better or more far-reaching. From Australia there’s the raucous sweatfest of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard who put out not one but five albums in 2017, shimmering shoegaze by way of new Heavenly’s brand new signing Hatchie, and the bonkers and epic Confidence Man who have somehow managed to invent a whole new style of dance music.
From the US you’ve got the fast-paced guitar seduction of Night Beats, the sweet and tender sounds of Anna Burch. Then you’ve got the Welsh contingency: the inimitable Gwenno and Huw Hawkline and then the newly-signed artist and Cardiff’s answer to William Onyeabor, Boy Azooga.
Two other exciting new signings come in the shape of Dan Stock: a young man from Milton Keynes who’s like a love-child of Billy Bragg and Bruce Springsteen, and audiobooks: David Wrench and Goldmsiths fine art student Evangeline Ling on a quest to create a collection of stone cold, avant garde party bangers.
Other new signings include Halifax’s finest The Orielles, Dutch pop wonder Amber Arcades and mesmerising Parisian artist Halo Maud. Elsewhere on the current roster lies the Prince of Tears himself Baxter Dury, the legendary Mark Lanegan, Liverpudlian trio Stealing Sheep, Duke Garwood, The Parrots and the new and very exciting 77:78. One more artist that the label is very excited about is Mattiel: a rather extraordinary multidisciplinary visual and audio artist from the US whose ridiculously catchy and upbeat songs are brought to you by Heavenly as a way of opening up the gateway to the summer. You can thank them for that later.
All those artists have this certain Heavenly flavour that’s as crystal clear as it is completely undefinable. It’s that certain characteristic that runs through all of Heavenly’s acts: a wild streak, a loving side, a splash of eccentricity. Heavenly continue to move through the world discovering people that speak their language and possess the unexplainable qualities necessary to be part of the ever-growing family. The family isn’t exclusive to artists – it’s open to people like you. People who have wandered lost through a festival and stumbled upon Jeff and Danny DJing to a crowd of happy dancers, people who have spent long nights holed up in The Social, people who have hopped on the train on a cold February afternoon to watch bands at the Heavenly Weekend at the Hebden Bridge Trades Club, and people who, most importantly, Believe in Magic…
Words: Liv Siddall
THE ARTISTS / RECORDS
Amber Arcades, the moniker of the Dutch-born musician Annelotte De Graaf, announces details of her second album, European Heartbreak, set for release on 28th September 2018 via Heavenly Recordings.
European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in LA with Chris Cohen from Deerhoof and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard (Natalie Prass, The Waterboys, Bedouine) who oversaw horn and string overdubs from Spacebomb. A vast step forward from her critically acclaimed debut album Fading Lines, this selection of songs flit around Europe, from Berlin to Spain to the south of France. It’s European not just in lyrical theme but in the sly sophistication of its music: songs that carry with them the air of open-topped cars on clifftop roads, of cocktails on the terrace at sunset. And then the lyrics undercut that sunny mood, artfully and skilfully.
European Heartbreak is about the nature of past and memory and our tendency to over-romanticise the events of our lives. It also deals with the passage of time, the relationship between past, present and future. And what is revealed, as the past is examined, is the disillusionment that had been concealed behind the carapace of romance. “Alpine Town”, “Oh My Love”, “Something’s Gonna Take Your Love Away” and “Goodnight Europe” encapsulate the album, digging into the themes of the record the most. Tourism, the romanticising of the past and of new love, how everything moves in cycles, the way things always change but never really change, our fluid concepts of nationality and identity… Both in politics and in love. European Heartbreak is an album that feels devastatingly truthful, precisely because it admits the lies.
After recording sessions in LA, Annelotte embarked on a week-long road trip through California’s national parks ending up in Death Valley, viewing the sunset from a famous vantage point. Surrounded by tourists with their smartphones, all very much not of their environment, the moment captured the sense of alientation that haunts the album’s 11 songs. Everything clicked, it all came together: our quest for meaning, our ongoing existential crisis, our desire to live life to the fullest, and our need to convince ourselves we are doing so and to try to prove it to the world: through something as mundane as holiday photos. Photostaken at this moment would end up forming the album artwork and imagery.
You can take all that from European Heartbreak. On the other hand, of course, you can just hear one of the year’s best pop records, and relish the skill of the writing, the depth of the production, the insidiousness of the melodies. It depends how far you want to lift the veil of life.
More infos : http://www.amberarcades.net
It’s a familiar story: fledgling singer does soul-sucking day job in order to fund their real passion during the nocturnal hours. Except Mattiel Brown, Atlanta’s rising star, is a rare exception to this time-honoured tradition: a fulfilled creative by day and night, albeit in different contexts. “It’s like I have two full-time jobs: designer and musician,” she says, humbly hip to her good fortune.
During office hours, Brown works as an ad designer and illustrator at MailChimp, a position she’s enjoyed for four years. “I work with a great video production team, in a great studio. Luckily, they’re a company that encourage side gigs.” Out of office hours, Brown swaps the design studio for the stage, a softly-spoken, chilled-out design nerd turned rock & roll belter, performing bold, vintage soul as Mattiel (pronounced ‘maa-TEEL’).
Brown grew up on a five-acre farm in rural Brooks, Georgia, the only child of a Detroit native. “My mom bought the farm in the early ‘90s. She had – still has – horses, so I learned to ride western-style when I was 6, 7 years-old,” (a skill Brown nods to in her cover art).
As an adolescent, Brown delighted in the ‘60s folk and pop of her mother’s limited vinyl collection: Donovan, Peter Paul and Mary, and Joan Baez. As an adult, relocated in neighbouring Atlanta, she’d sing along to the radio on the long drives to work: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Andre 3000, Dylan, Marc Bolan, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Jack White.
When Brown first began jamming with InCrowd, the Atlanta-based song-writing and production team behind her dynamite eponymous debut, she had no real designs on making a whole album and no gameplan beyond the fun of “creating something out of nothing.” She said, “That process is always pretty astounding to me, and doing it with other people is even better.” But her producers, Randy Michael and Jonah Swilley, knew a good thing when they heard it: Brown and InCrowd had chemistry.
InCrowd’s founders, both skilled multi-instrumentalists, met in 2014, as session musicians touring with soul man Curtis Harding. Michael – an experienced player who’d co-written with Harding and racked up impressive session spots with the likes of Bruno Mars, and The Next Day-era Bowie – played guitar, while Swilley (producer, writer and performer since age 9 and younger brother of Black Lips bassist Jared) played drums. On the road, they bonded over a mutual love of vintage R&R and ‘90s rap. “We discovered we both loved The Beatles as much as Jay-Z, Dylan as much as the Arctic Monkeys,” remembers Swilley. Back in Atlanta, once the Harding tour had wrapped, the pair formed a band, Black Linen, writing reverb-washed guitar music inspired by Tarantino soundtracks, by way of ‘60s Cambodian psych.
Mattiel’s sound might borrow from the past, but their art direction – Brown’s inspiring handiwork, of course – is decidedly forward-thinking, all colour block aesthetics (á la the White Stripes) and artful, design-savvy music videos. “I don’t wanna hit people over the head with like, bell bottoms and long hair and a Jimmy Hendrix outfit,” Brown laughs. “People have seen all that before.”
Mattiel is a “fresh mesh of retro and contemporary,” says Swilley, the latter thanks in large part to Brown’s vision, voice and on-stage energy. “She’s very exciting to watch. She doesn’t rehearse it or try to emulate anyone; she’s just doing own her thing. And she’s not fazed by the crowds [as evidenced during their shows to date: a recent, three-date support slot for Portugal The Man]. It’s kind of incredible really, because in person she’s pretty chilled and softly spoken, but when she gets on stage…in the last six months, she’s really been killing it.”
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/therealmattiel/
Interview with Davey Newington from Boy Azooga :
Boy Azooga’s debut album, 1, 2 Kung Fu, is piloted by Davey Newington, a young man with much musical heritage. One of his granddads was a jazzer who played drums for the Royal Marines. Davey’s dad (violin) and his mum (clarinet) both played, and met, in the BBC National Orchestra Of Wales. Davey himself also enjoyed orchestral engagement, playing in various Welsh Orchestra’s and Jazz bands as a teenager.
Davey took up the drums at the age of six. More recently, and operating as one Bongo Fury, he became the rhythmic pulse for Charlotte Church’s Late Night Pop Dungeon, sat behind the kit as Charlotte plied joyous pop hedonism to Glastonbury and beyond. This would have been enough for some, but now Davey returns as Boy Azooga. The oldest song on the debut album is Hangover Square, titled after Patrick Hamilton’s celebrated and blackly compelling 1941 novel of the same name. The book was given to Davey by his dad as Davey left home at the age of 18. He was so taken with the novel that he almost immediately turned the book’s narrative into a song. Now, completing a circle, Newington senior plays strings on the Boy Azooga album. Davey plays everything else.
Davey’s vocals and arrangements carry the tunefulness of The Super Furry Animals. But the palette extends far beyond singer-songwriterly poignancy. Davey recruited friends Daf Davies, Dylan Morgan and Sam Barnes to form the Boy Azooga live quartet, an ensemble that swings smoothly from filmic instrumentals to a churning, rave-tinged rock that hints at both Can and their progeny in Happy Mondays.
“The album is not all one thing for sure,” says Davey. “The whole point of Boy Azooga is to be a celebration of loads of different types of music. I wanted the album to be more like a mixtape or something. We wanted to include loads of contrasting styles.”
By way of illustration of Davey’s multifarious musical mission, the track Face Behind Her Cigarette both hints at Hot Butter’s 1972 synth-pop smash Popcorn and draws inspiration from the late Nigerian funk overlord William Onyeabor. The filmic instrumental Breakfast Epiphany II is a response to The Beach Boys’ Don’t Talk (Put Your Head On My Shoulder), as featured in an LSD-fuelled scene in the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy. Boy Azooga close 1, 2 Kung Fu with Sitting On The First Rock From The Sun, a piece of poised 1960s-flavoured classicism that expands into a Black Sabbath-esque whig out
Other influences on the album include Sly & The Family Stone, Caribou, Black Sabbath, Outkast, Van McCoy, Ty Segall and The Beastie Boys. It’s a range of listening that reflects how Davey moved on from a school-days love of Nirvana and Run-DMC – which was partly down to an inspirational art teacher.
Davey: “Mr Clark was pretty cool. He knew I played drums, so he told me I should check out Can because they have really interesting rhythms, so I bought Can’s Ege Bamyasi in Spillers Records in Cardiff. When I was in the shop [Television’s] Marquee Moon was playing on the stereo, a record I’d never heard of. I ended up buying that as well. Not a bad day’s work…”
Davey is evangelical about his musical influences. His choice of band name also has links with cultural precedent – this time the 1994 film The Little Rascals, which was, in turn, based on Our Gang, the series of comedy shorts created by Laurel & Hardy producer Hal Roach.
“When we were growing up,” says Davey, “we used the watch the film The Little Rascals at my gran’s house. In that film they chant ‘Azooga-zooga-zooga’ so the name comes from that. My cousin is in a really good Edinburgh-based band called Man Of Moon. When me and him text each other we always sign off with ‘Azooga-zooga.’ I’d wanted to call the band Bo Azooga after Bo Diddley, but my girlfriend told me BO was not something good to have in a name…”
Alongside the triangle, Davey also played timpani, xylophone and sleighbells for various youth orchestras. He was delighted to find that The Stooges also deployed sleighbells, on tracks such as I Wanna Be Your Dog. Now sleighbells feature on the Boy Azooga album. But Davey’s treasure chest of hand-held percussion doesn’t stop there. Maracas are a key feature with Face Behind Her Cigarette, the song with which Boy Azooga often finish their live set, and which turns into a rave/psych monster-mash in the process.
“I started off with two pairs of maracas,” says Davey, “my lucky black maracas from this shop in Cardiff… Then my girlfriend and my best friend knew we had loads of gigs coming up. So they got me all these cheap maracas for my birthday, like 40, and drew different stuff on them – the date of a gig and so on. I think I currently have about 50 pairs. We lose a few at gigs but I’m hoping that’ll change and people will start bringing their own…”
Secure your maracas, grab those sleighbells. The Boy Azooga beat is already among us – and getting louder.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/BoyAzooga/
77 : 78
77:78 is the new project from Aaron Fletcher & Tim Parkin, card carrying members of the musical kaleidoscope that is The Bees, have announced details of Love Said (Let’s Go), their first release for Heavenly Recordings having recently signed to the label.
The track was previously available as a limited edition white label seven which sold out within 48-hours and was the catalyst for Heavenly to sign the band having being blown away by the track having picked up a copy while out record shopping.
Currently putting the final touches to their forthcoming debut album, the band’s Aaron Fletcher said about the track:
“The song’s working title was Jelly because it has this soulful balearic groove that just wobbles! Lyrically the vibe is saying “keep on keeping on”… take life’s punches but shine on.”
Set to pick up where the Bees left off, Love Said (Let’s Go), bodes well for the album due later this year, which was recorded at their Isle of Wight studio HQ and musically picks it way from sublime west coast harmonies that recall the frayed beauty of the Beach Boys Smiley Smile , to the ramshackle dub of King Tubby via the playfulness of early Syd Barret.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/7778music/
MARK LANEGAN & DUKE GARWOOD
Over the last decade, Lanegan and Garwood have worked in tangent on 2013’s Black Pudding as well as on Lanegan’s solo records (Garwood contributed to 2012’s Blues Funeral and 2017’s Gargoyle after which he toured as part of Lanegan’s band). Writing and recording was split between studio collaboration and sharing music between Garwood’s home in London and Lanegan’s in Los Angeles. Elsewhere, technology helped make the duo’s transatlantic working relationships relatively easy.
“Over the years, we’ve recorded together and apart. This time, I started this record alone, with many animals as company,” says Garwood. “It flowed, I set to work and out it came. Our music is instinct, there is not much talking about it, just creating. I think that if you are at peace with your work, and feeling it right, it flows, and can feel ‘easy’. Music isn’t meant to be hard. Though sometimes it can burn you to ashes. Making music for a singer, so they can inhabit it with a song means hitting the right soul buttons. There is no hit without a miss. It is a healing record, for us the makers, and for the listeners. It grows natural. We are gardeners of sonic feelings.”
While Black Pudding put Garwood’s mercurial guitar centre stage, With Animals is constructed from a different set of tools. Analogue and dust flecked, it sounds like Lanegan and Garwood have been holed up in a ’60s recording studio while the apocalypse rages outside. Tracks sit on loops that sounds like they’re straight out of There’s A Riot Goin’ On while sparse melodies nod in the direction of British electronic producers like Burial or Boards of Canada. Which is not to say it sounds like any of those things – this is a weird world all of their own design.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/MarkLanegan/
Hailing from the French proggy, psychedelic and experimental pop scene that birthed Melody’s Echo Chamber, Moodoïd and cult label La Souterraine, Halo Maud’s ethereal songs flit between English and French language, focussing on notions of freedom and power through a wild and playful lens.
Right through the dream-pop sensibility and the swirling-synth psychedelia of Halo Maud’s debut album, something uncanny lurks. “I never did what other teenagers were doing,” she says, by way of explanation. “My father is a reverend but my mother rejected all religion, so I was always busy having a mystical crisis.” The record is rich with these contradictions, with the urge to be both precise and vague, wanting to be somewhere and wanting to run away. The music also has a delicate balance between English and French. Maud Nadal grew up in rural Auvergne, in central France, and lives in Paris, but for years she wrote in English. “It took me a while to find my voice, to find my language even. I always listened to English music so when I started writing songs they were in English, too, and French came later. It’s difficult – everything sounds good in English, French is much harder.” That push-and-pull between the languages, where a song often contains both English and French, is another example of the stories lurking beneath the songs – “When I sing in English, the words float away from me straight away,” she explains. “When I sing in French, I feel something different, something more immediate, and I think the audience do too.” These songs are ethereal, they seem to float above: “Sometimes I feel that the way time passes is about how you look at it. It’s about patience and perspective. I like to play with time, in the music, speed it up, slow it down, play it backwards. Sometimes things make sense when you put them in reverse.” She’s talking about her life (of course) as well as her album: “The first song and the last song are a pair, about the traces and sensations left at the end of a relationship.” The whole record folds in the middle, in fact, the second half looking back at the first with a flinty eye. That opening track, ‘Wherever’, is a sweet tumbling love song – her voice is delicate and sweet, until you notice it’s also spooky and sinister. ‘Du Pouvoir’, the almost-jaunty second track about confidence and finding your place in the world, has an evil twin on side B of the record: ‘Je Suis Une Ile’ samples ‘Du Pouvoir’ but plays it backwards, like an apocryphal 80 metal hit, and adds an icy rage to the optimism of the earlier song. The whole flipside of the album is a wonky mirror, with playful loops and percussion and keys that are always about to slip from mischief to malevolence.
Je Suis Une Île n’est que son premier album et pourtant, Maud Nadal alias Halo Maud peut déjà se tarir d’un CV plus que flatteur. Révélée en 2015 sur une compilation de la Souterraine, la jeune auvergnate n’a cessé ces dernières années de multiplier les collaborations, en accompagnant notamment sur scène ses amis de Melody’s Echo Chamber et Moodoïd, en écrivant pour Christophe, ou encore en apparaissant aux cotés de Marietta ou des canadiens de Corridor. Au fil de ces diverses expériences et rencontres, la jeune française a pris le temps, et en a profité pour peaufiner son écriture et ses chansons. Après avoir publié un premier EP l’an dernier, c’est finalement en ce printemps 2018 qu’elle décide de dévoiler le véritable premier chapitre de sa discographie.
Résultat ? Un album en deux langues, digne et concret, captivant et ambitieux, et envoûtant du début à la fin. Instrumentalement, les pistes naviguent ici entre les sonorités de Blonde Redhead et celles de AIR, entre douceurs psychédéliques et dream pop onirique (Wherever). Les envolées vocales de Maud rappellent parfois celles de Kazu Makino (Du Pouvoir/Power), voire celles de Björk (Tu Sais Comme Je Suis), mais sans pour autant manquer de caractère personnel ni de singularité. Les nappes synthétiques s’entremêlent d’arpèges de guitares distordues et de rythmiques décomplexées, et chaque titre révèle au fil des écoutes sa réelle profondeur comme son rapide magnétisme (Surprise, Proche Proche Proche).
Désormais signée sur le label anglais Heavenly Recordings (Baxter Dury, Temples), Halo Maud a choisi pour son premier album de faire la part belle à cette musique pop dont les racines sont autant à aller chercher du coté de l’indie anglais que de la musique rétro française. La production est soignée, l’univers inspiré et inspirant. De manière plus générale, ce disque est une véritable promesse, un gage de qualité pour tous ceux qui auraient perdu foi en cette pop hexagonale qui ne cesse pourtant de démontrer chaque année l’étendue de son fort potentiel. Merci donc à Maud Nadal pour cette jolie piqûre de rappel. (MOWNO)
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/allomaud/
Though the deceptively complex pop of Quit The Curse marks the debut of Anna Burch, it’s anything but the green first steps of a fledgling new artist. The Detroit singer/songwriter has been visible for the better part of her years-long career singing in Frontier Ruckus, or more recently co-fronting Failed Flowers, but somewhere a vibrant collection of solo material slowly began taking form.
Growing up in Michigan, her fixation with music transitioned from a childhood of Disney and Carole King sing-alongs to more typically angsty teenage years spent covering Bright Eyes and Fiona Apple at open mic nights. By 18 she was deep into the lifestyle of the touring musician, juggling all the regular trials and changes of young life while on a schedule that would have her gone for months on end.
After a few whirlwind years of this, exhausted and feeling a little lost, she stepped away from music completely to attend grad school in Chicago. This respite lasted until 2014 when she moved to Detroit and found herself starting work in earnest on solo songs she’d been making casual demos of for a year or so. Friends had been encouraging her to dive into solo music, and one particularly enthusiastic friend, Chicago musician Paul Cherry, went so far as to assemble a band around scrappy phone demos to push for a fully realized album.
“Writing songs that I actually liked for the first time gave me a feeling of accomplishment,” Burch said, “Like, I can do this too! But working with other musicians and hearing the songs go from sad singer/songwriter tunes to arranged pop songs gave me this giddy confidence that I’d never felt before.”
The process was drawn out and various drafts and recordings came and went as the months passed. By now Anna was playing low key shows and d.i.y. tours solo and had released some early versions of a few songs on a split with fellow Detroit musician Stef Chura. Even at a slow, meticulous pace, with every step the album took closer to completion, it felt more serious and more real. After a more than a year of piecemeal recording sessions, Anna was introduced to engineer Collin Dupuis (Lana Del Rey, Angel Olsen) who helped push things energetically home, mixing the already bright songs into a state of brilliant clarity.
The nine songs that comprise Quit The Curse come on sugary and upbeat, but their darker lyrical themes and serpentine song structures are tucked neatly into what seem at first just like uncommonly catchy tunes. Burch’s crystal clear vocal harmonies and gracefully crafted songs feel so warm and friendly that it’s easy to miss the lyrics about destructive relationships, daddy issues and substance abuse that cling like spiderwebs to the hooky melodies. The maddeningly absent lover being sung to in “2 cool to care”, the crowded exhaustion of “With You Every Day” or even the grim, paranoid tale of scoring drugs in “asking for a friend” sometimes feel overshadowed by the shimmering sonics that envelop them.
“To me this album marks the end of an era of uncertainty. Writing songs about my emotional struggles helped me to work through some negative patterns in my personal life, while giving me the sense of creative agency I’d been searching for.”
Emerging from years spent as a supporting player, Quit The Curse stands as a liberation from feeling like Burch’s own songwriting voice was just out of reach — an opportunity, finally, for the world at large to hear what’s been on her mind for quite a while.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/annaisaburch/
Interview with ESME from THE ORIELLES :
From the first jangling sunshine chords on opening track ‘Mango’, Silver Dollar Moments announces itself as a proper piece of indie pop goodness. Then, across 45 minutes, it takes all kinds of turns, into ESG-ish yips and funk, dreamy-arch harmonies, disco synth-pows and stoner bongos, unsettling submerged voices – with all that and more it still flows like a fountain of indie pop, fresh and catchy and altogether.
The songs span a chunk of time, from tracks they’ve been playing for a while, like opener ‘Mango’, to closing belter ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’, which was written in the studio as they made the album. (Disco wrist, by the way, is “something we think Nile Rodgers has, from playing his disco riffs on the guitar.”)
Young upstarts with a thirst for adventure, a love for the party and great sprawling taste in music: they’re clearly another perfect Heavenly band. “We did always looked to Heavenly because they were bringing out consistently good UK music,” says Henry. “We’re fans of so many of their bands – The Parrots, King Gizzard, Hooton Tennis Club, Toy, Temples, H Hawkline – that’s how we knew it’d be a nice label to be on.”
“And they’re a really tight community,” says Sid. “They put on festival lineups with a lot of their bands so there’s always opportunity to meet other Heavenly musicians. We’ve spoken to other bands on other labels who rarely see their label manager and never get to know any of the other bands on their label. It’s really good that we do.”
One last thing: what’s a Silver Dollar Moment? “It’s anything that’s unexpectedly brilliant,” says Henry. “We played in Toronto, at this bar called the Silver Dollar Room. We’d been in Canada for 36 hours, no sleep, we’d already played at 10, then we played a show at the Silver Dollar at 2am and it was one of the best shows we’ve played. So a silver dollar moment became anything that’s good, but unexpectedly.” He pauses, then grins: “Although we knew the album would be good, obviously.”
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/theorielles
If Janet Planet, Sugar Bones, Clarence McGuffie and Reggie Goodchild weren’t a band already you’d be snapping at their heels demanding they form one quick-sharp. Fact is, they are, and on Friday 13th April 2018 they release Confident Music For Confident People, their 11-track debut album for Heavenly Recordings.
The band have already offered a glimpse of what’s in store on Confident Music For Confident People – recent tracks Boyfriend, Bubblegum and Better Sit Down Boy were big and brash and bright as hell, like Dee-Lite tooled up and ready for our berserk modern times.
How they formed is a matter of debate.
Janet: “These guys (points to Clarence and Reggie, the veiled men) were real saddoes playing by themselves and I needed someone to play music with me. They were obsessed with trying to find someone cool and they saw me dancing in a club and were like, “We want that girl!” I knew if we were going to get anywhere, we needed a hot dude with a six-pack at the front of the stage to even things out because they were so damn ugly themselves. We were hanging out at the public pool one day and there was this hot pool guy cleaning the pool and dancing to the music in his head. He looked pretty good in hot pants and while his moves weren’t conventional, they had a certain flare. And now, we’re like mum and dad and these two are just our petulant kids.”
Confident Music for Confident People sets eleven tales of 21st century ennui to irresistible, irrepressible dance music. The opening lines of Try Your Luck (“I must confess/I’ve been sleeping with your ex/’Cos I heard he was the best/I must confess/I never would have guessed he would get so obsessed… I’m not surprised”) set the tone perfectly for what follows.
Here is a set of songs that take the kind of all-consuming interior monologues that bored, disaffected youth are wrestling with the world over and places them square in the middle of the dance floor before adding call-and-response choruses for good measure – it’s the best collection of perfect pop music you’ll hear all year, the perfect embodiment of the characters that made it that somehow manages to be both wildly ambitious and deceptively simple at the same time.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/confidenceman1/
KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD
Ils l’ont fait ! King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard a bien tenu leur pari: celui de sortir cinq albums pour l’année 2017. Il est vrai qu’on commençait à s’inquiéter en ces derniers jours de 2017 parce que Polygondwanaland (chroniqué ici) datait de novembre dernier tout de même. Et bien coup de théâtre, leur cinquième opus Gumboot Soup est dans nos oreilles depuis le 31 décembre dernier. De quoi passer le réveillon avec de bonnes oreilles.
Chaque album de King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard apportait cette question suivante: à quoi s’attendre avec eux cette fois-ci ? Stu Mackenzie et ses compères ont décidé de marcher sur la lignée de Polygondwanaland mais en moins progressif cette fois-ci. C’est-à-dire une sorte de best-of de tout ce qu’ils ont pu accomplir cette année, privilégiant l’efficacité plutôt que la cohérence au niveau du contenu.
Dès lors, on retrouve aussi bien les sonorités orientales de Flying Microtonal Banana (« Greenhouse Heat Death », « Muddy Water », « All Is Known »), heavy de Murder of The Universe/Nonagon Infinity avec le doom furieux de « The Great Chain of Being » mais encore jazzy dignes de Sketches of Brunswick East avec l’estival « The Last Oasis », « Superposition » (où Stu Mackenzie aura recours à l’Auto-Tune) mais également « The Wheel » qui clôture le bal avec une grande classe. Une petite incursion du côté de Paper Mâché Dream Balloon ne fait pas de mal avec les insouciants « Beginner’s Luck », « Barefoot Desert » et « I’m Sleepin’ In » tout comme des moments plus originaux comme le funky « Down The Sink » avec bien sûr ce soupçon de psychédélisme qui leur est bien familier.
Quoi qu’il en soit, Gumboot Soup est un bon moyen pour King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard pour clôturer leur folle année 2017 avec un disque comme cerise sur le gâteau. Non seulement on retrouve tout leur savoir-faire qu’ils ont accompli depuis peu mais en plus de cela, ils font parti de ces rares groupes qui ne perdent aucune once d’inspiration. En passe de devenir le meilleur groupe de rock psychédélique du monde, quelque chose me dit qu’ils vont remettre le couvert pour 2018.
(LES OREILLES CURIEUSES)
Written entirely in Cornish, Le Kov is exploration of the individual and collective subconscious, the myths and drolls of Cornwall, and the survival of Britain’s lesser known Brythonic language. As one of the language’s few fluent speakers, Gwenno felt a duty to make her second album entirely in Cornish: to create a document of a living language, explore her identity and the endless creative possibilities of a tongue that has a very small surviving artistic output, despite having been around for at least 15 centuries.
She dove deep into research, learning about attempts to protect and progress the language and the role of women throughout Cornish history. When Gwenno considered the legends of sunken Brythonic cities Cantre’r Gwaelod, Kêr-Is, Langarrow and Lyonesse, she knew she had her starting point. These cities evoked her idea of language as its own form of psychological territory, a concept perfectly distilled by the Cornish title for the album, Le Kov – the place of memory.
Over the course of making Le Kov, Gwenno reconciled her anxiety over her right to make a Cornish-language pop record, and realised that, in the age of Brexit, isolationism and hostility towards the rich cultures that make modern Britain, it had a wider resonance, too. “This album is a combination of accepting the culture which your parents have valued enough to want to pass on to you, regardless how small, and utilising it in a positive way to try and make sense of the world around you, it’s also about having to accept and respect the nuances that make us all different and discovering that all of our stories share the same truth.”
More infos : https://www.gwenno.info/
Interview with Baxter Dury about « Prince Of Tears » :
Prince of Tears was recorded at the end of 2016 at Hoxa Studios, co-produced by Baxter himself & Ash Workman (Metronomy) and mixed by longstanding collaborator Craig Silvey (Arcade Fire, New Order, Florence & the Machine).
Intensely personal, yet brutally open, this is Baxter’s fifth album and his most ambitious and biggest work to date. Whilst retaining the natty charm of his previous works, like his debut Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift or the acclaimed Happy Soup, Baxter this time worked with a full band and orchestra to truly bring the soundscapes of his emotional netherworld to life.
The album features notable guests; including longstanding fan Jason Williamson from Sleaford Mods on the track ‘Almond Milk’ and Rose Elinor Dougall on ‘Porcelain’, as well as long-term collaborator Madelaine Hart providing backing vocals across numerous tracks and illuminating some of the album’s dark corners.
‘The Album is full of little fictional snapshots based on actual experiences’, Baxter says of the ten songs. ‘They’re biographical film soundtracks for an imaginary film about myself, which is fictional. The man singing and speaking it all is unreliable; he can’t see the world properly. Its massively delusional, but because of that it’s also emotionally true’.
More infos : https://www.facebook.com/baxter.dury/