- Half Man Half Biscuit “I’m Getting Buried In The Morning” from The Voltarol Years (2022)
- Jason Blake “Abstractions of Thought” from Imaginary Cages (2022)
- An Evening Redness “Mesa Skyline” from An Evening Redness (2022)
- 22 Oceans “Home” from Home (2022)
- Telefís “Ballytransnational” from a haon (2022)
- The Aromanacs “Part One” from The Aromanac or The Nose of Shadows (2022)
- VONAMOR “Mother Night” from VONAMOR (2022)
- Richard Evans “Made of Stars” from Sentinel (2022)
- NiftySax “Shaula” from Spheres (2022)
- The Stolen Moans “Falling Into A” Single (2022)
- The Long Hunt “The Tower” from Threshold Wanderer (2022)
- Paris Music Corp. “Witch Harvest” from Paris Music Corp. (2022)
- Half Man Half Biscuit “Rogation Sunday’s Here Again!” from The Voltarol Years (2022)
Chicago-based Warr guitarist JASON BLAKE has completed work on his latest solo outing, Imaginary Cages, confirming the album for late February release through Wayfarer Records.
The Warr Guitar is a twelve-string instrument incorporating the range of a guitar and bass. It is played by tapping the strings; a technique known as touchstyle guitar. When his primary band, instrumental/progressive metal trio Aziola Cry, returned from a fourteen-year hiatus with the Sensory Records release of their blazing The Ironic Divide last year, JASON BLAKE’s performance on the record was noticed and praised by critics and fans abroad. Within the group, he writes music featuring the rhythmic and melodic capabilities of the Warr Guitar in a band setting.
However, with his solo work, JASON BLAKE pushes the boundaries of the instrument while incorporating elements of progressive rock, ambient, and classical. Signed to Olympia, Washington-based Wayfarer Records, he released his first album for the label in June of 2021. Called, “an aural feast of different sounds,” by Sea of Tranquility, the album Fictional Mirrors was the first album of a planned progressive ambient trilogy titled The Ternary Instinct. While the other installments of that series are being formulated, BLAKE now returns with Imaginary Cages.
A six-song progressive rock suite of solo Warr guitar, Imaginary Cages features some of BLAKE’s most complicated work to date, boasting technical prowess in a bold but subdued setting. With delicate and tranquil chorus-drenched ambience, JASON BLAKE executes forty minutes of precision musicianship with no overdubs. The album was mixed by Tyler Rice at Transient Sound, mastered by Bob Katz at Digital Domain (Foghat, Sinead O’Connor, Necrophagist), and completed with artwork by Hajo Müller (Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson).
An Evening Redness
AN EVENING REDNESS will release their stunning self-titled debut full-length on February 25th via Transylvanian Recordings.
AN EVENING REDNESS is parched desert drone doom and the sound of thunder over the mountains. Evoking the hallucinatory clarity of the alkali plains and the biblical violence of its literary namesake, the collective bursts from obscurity with a fusion of sounds that seem incompatible on paper but prove blindingly innovative in action.
Deeply introspective and evoking hallucinatory darkness, AN EVENING REDNESS‘ self-titled debut is the newest release from Brandon Elkins. Composed, arranged, and produced by Elkins, the offering is a masterwork of diverse ambient doom and post-ambient composition, with the minimalism of Earth contrasted with passages that wouldn’t feel out of place on Jesu’s Opiate Sun. An ensemble of musical talents including vocalist Bridget Bellavia (BLKTXXTH, Piggy Black Cross), guest soloist Brendan Sloan (Convulsing), and session drummer Ryan Jewell (Riley Walker and many others) serve to underscore the drama and focused production contained within the album’s six tracks.
What ties the whole album together is an atmosphere that feels spiritually closer to a film score than what you’d expect from a solo record. Notes Elkins, “I wanted to make music that sounds like how Blood Meridian reads. Lonely, high plains insanity, sudden bursts of violence, longing melodies, ambient isolation.” Elkins’ work has always been hard to pin down, but this feels like a culmination of not only the best elements of his many projects – but the compositional mastery that can only come from decades of refined craft. With the intensity of modern doom masters like Bell Witch and the emotional and musical dexterity of Neko Case at peak powers.
British indie pop artist 22 Oceans presents their new single ‘Home’, a beautiful slice of Americana-tinged minimalist electronica previewing their new 5-track ‘Home’ EP, released via 72rpm Records and mastered by renowned producer Marc Joy (Primal Scream, Mike Peters, Oasis, Bernard Butler, Golden Fable, Louise Trehy) at Ferndale Studios in Wales.
Since emerging on the indie music scene in 2020, 22 Oceans has been presenting a steady string of new music. While influenced by 80’s influenced synthpop, their new single brings this artist into new territory while retaining their trademark ethereal vocals.
Based in Merseyside, this project is the brainchild of Mike Guy.While originally a solo project, 22 Oceans has blossomed into a fruitful trio, graced by the vocal and songwriting talents of twin sisters Carys and Keeley Hughes, whose stellar tandem of vocal harmonies complement a backdrop of lush, layered sounds.
‘Home’ follows up the singles ‘Drifting’ and ‘Broken’ feat. Jo Madden, both of which were released in 2021. The early 2020 ‘Butterfly Candy’ EP saw Mike Guy collaborate with Wales-based dreampop artist Lights That Change, while the subsequent ‘Paradise’ EP featured Liverpool vocalist Rachael Dunn and also involved Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark (OMD) co-founder and drummer Malcolm Holmes.
“The song ‘Home’ was inspired by ideas about returning to the comfort of your home, which doesn’t necessarily have to be a place, but rather the people who have made a large impact on your life,” says Mike Guy.
Following the release of the ‘Falun Gong Dancer EP’ with legendary post-punk bass maestro Jah Wobble (Public Image Limited, Invaders Of The Heart), electronic duo Telefís are gearing up for their debut album ‘a hAon’ (Number One), a highly unique collection of 13 tracks that wasreleased by Dimple Discs on March 4.
Telefís (the Irish Gaelic word for Television, pronounced Tele-feesh) is a collaboration between two acclaimed ex-pat Irish iconoclasts, in-demand composer/mixer/producer Garret “Jacknife” Lee (U2, R.E.M., Modest Mouse, The Killers, Snow Patrol, Crystal Castles, Editors) and singer-lyricist-composer Cathal Coughlan (Microdisney, Fatima Mansions and many acclaimed solo works). Having known each other vaguely in Ireland’s early 80s post-punk scene, Jacknife is now based in L.A. and Cathal, a native of Cork, lives in London. A timely re-introduction by a mutual friend led to the two spending 2020 trading ideas and musical files during lockdown, hatching plans for a satirical, mischievous examination of Irish history and the pop culture of their lifetimes, which the two have labelled ..”a corrosive nostalgia”.
Cathal Coughlan comments on ‘Ballytransnational’: “A gaunt wooden rollercoaster overlooks the flatlands leading to a land border which, for many years until now, used to count for nothing. It used to be the topic of rueful recollections from decades past, but the received wisdom was that the bad old days were over, and seamless moving of fluid identities and capital now ruled the day. Public health concerns and political ferment have now given way to protectionism of many kinds. As the generation who understood the damage caused by that border passes away, the border’s time has come again. And it says: you’re never going back.’
A series of remarkable singles and remixes, starting with the electro-funk monster ‘We Need’ EP in mid-2021 and followed by ‘Mister Imperator’, see Coughlan and Lee de-construct the Ireland of their youth through the prism of politics, technology and religion. Complemented by arcane imagery and 60s/70s video footage that are both playfully ironic and endearingly melancholic, these singles have set the table for one of year’s most intriguing and adventurous debut albums.
“Collaborating in this way, with a dynamic and consummate artist, who has access to a wide range of skills which I don’t have, but with whom I share many common interests and cultural/historical reference points, has been one of the highlights of my creative life. It’s made me so glad that I’ve been able to remain active for long enough to see something like this happen. Easily as spontaneous and full of surprises as any in-person collaboration, it’s shaken loose many weird and hopefully wonderful things in my verbal workshop. And nobody has heard me use my voice in some of these ways before now, either,” says Cathal Coughlan.
Jacknife Lee adds: “I’d just finished mangling a Luke Haines and Peter Buck record. Luke knows Cathal and re-introduced us. On the first or second correspondence we thought we should make some music together. Music is probably the only way I can properly communicate with someone. I sent Cathal the backing track that would become “We Need” and he sent me back the vocal and we went back and forth from there. Lockdowns and travel restrictions forced us to work remotely, and I think helped us get to where we got so quickly. Cathal is without doubt one of the finest lyricists of our time and writes like no one else. Some of the vocals he sent over made me burst out laughing with giddiness and delight at the novelty of them. Mischievous, dark, arcane, crispy fresh, and always unexpected. Every song with a backstory that could be a novel. This is easily the most enjoyable and rewarding music that I’ve been involved with.”
Part celebration, part satire, Telefís is an exploration of nostalgia as experienced in the present day, by natives of what was formerly a culturally sealed-off small country on the very fringes of Europe. It also points a critical finger at today’s global hierarchies, an inspiration for the strange characters and caricatures that spring from Coughlan’s fertile imagination. Stark forms of imagery, bizarre to the modern eye and ear but treated as routine in the pre-globalization world, are pushed at the listener and viewer. On the musical side, Jacknife Lee uses his extensive sonic palette to create an irresistible mix of cinematic instrumentals and electro-funk backdrops full of melodic, squelchy synths and thunderous bass-lines, often with a cheeky nod to electro-pop history.
The Aromanacs are a disparate bunch of ne’er do wells who appear in different guises elsewhere in the German Shepherd Records roster and catalogue. The project arose, as it usually does, from an e-mail interchange between Moff and Bob where ideas and surreal interventions were overseen by Mr A Quayle, our spiritual leader. It is the intention that the project will continue with the involvement of others in the future.
ABOUT THE NEW RELEASE – Of this release Mr A Quayle says “We are all familiar with the personal aromas produced by acquaintances and loved ones. On this level of familiarity, the smell can bring its bearer to mind. For example, if I were to smell the Mills and Boon rose over a background of Marks and Spencer’s escalator draft, I would know that my Aunty Dot has returned from the dead with a new shirt for my birthday. But what of the people we feel we know but have never met, what of their attars and vapours? If we’re honest, we all have intuitions about how these people smell. In my case, I have always felt very strongly that Marti Caine had the smell of baked beans when placed cold in a plastic salad carousel.. This is based on nothing I can consciously identify as ‘ a good reason ‘ and is in no way intended to disparage the person in question, it is simply there in my mind. It is worth remarking that a reversal takes place when you move from an acquaintance to a practical stranger. With the former, the odour suggests the person; with the latter, the person suggests the odour. This suggestibility I call THE NOSE OF SHADOWS. These recordings are an exercise in extracting poetry from THE NOSE OF SHADOWS. The lyrical data presented here by Ian, Bob, Stephen and Moff is, to the best of their knowledge, sincere at the time of recording. It only remains for me to say: these recordings stink and we hope you get a good nostril full”.
Involved in this phase of the Aromanac project were Ian Moss (Four Candles, The Parasite, 2 Lost Souls) Moff Skellington, Stephen Doyle (The Teenage Propshafts) and Bob Osborne (The Parasite, Space Museum, Passage of Time, Auster Boys).
Italian postpunk-darkwave-electro trio VONAMOR have released their debut ‘VONAMOR’ album digitally and on CD via Time To Kill Records (TTK). The album, which boasts the artistic production of the eclectic producer Lucio Leoni, follows their recent singles ‘You the People’ and ‘Take Your Heart’ and earlier videos for ‘Never Betray Us’ and ‘Fast-Forward Girl’.
Through their pulsating, imaginative music, VONAMOR mixes fascinating contemporary electronic beats with dark, noise and punk sounds evocative of the ‘80s with the addition of melancholic and clever lyrics written in several different languages, including English, Italian, French, German and even Chinese.
Track by track, the ‘VONAMOR’ album teases the audience with a wildly emotional trip around the world – through the stories of love, belonging, submission, protest, power, desire, abuse and the passion that affects our everyday lives. Here we find stories of femme fatales and fearful memories, of burning desires, motherly loves and fatal tragedies, falling empires and latent revolutions. Music about a messed-up world that is always moving too fast, yet makes us dangerously linger between reality and dystopia, sanity and madness. Music conveying the hope that we recover our true and authentic bond with mother nature and other human beings.
This ‘VONAMOR’ long-player is rich with musical brilliance, magnetic sensuality, unexpected twists, literary echoes and cinematographic references. Through an addictive vortex made of male and female voices, tongues, idioms, musical timbers, beats and pauses, VONAMOR come face to face with a multitude of demons, suggesting a change of perspective – to make you move, dance and, ultimately, love, leaving all restraints and conventions behind.
“Through our darkwave music and words, we search for the question, the ambiguity, the multiform influence of a variety of demons. We feel the urgency of questioning ourselves, our fellow human beings and the reality around us,” says Giulia Bottaro.
VONAMOR is made up of sisters Giulia Bottaro, Francesca Bottaro and Luca Guidobaldi, with Francesco Bassoli and Martino Cappelli joining in for live performances. This project started in 2016. Initially focused on communicating images and composing scores for short films, they morphed into the trio we know today with their style, literary echoes, imperious art-pop and enigmatic aesthetics.
Manchester-based electronic artist Richard Evans presents his debut album ‘Sentinel’ via Cold Star Media, an eight-track collection that tells the story of humanity at a tipping point and a world trapped in a climate crisis.
“Sentinel is an electro-pop concept album. It’s important that art has something to say about the world we live in and there is no bigger issue than climate change. The album is my take on the different facets of the subject – from the impact of micro-plastics to the paranoia of COVID; from the origins of life to global climate protests, all in a pop package,” says Richard Evans.
A British-Irish electronic musician, writer and digital media artist, Richard Evans’ draws inspiration from real-world science, exploring biotechnology, machine intelligence and the environment. For this album, existing songs were refined and new material was written, combining the warmth of classic synths with pared-down lyrics that explore real-world subject matter. Recorded at Evan’s home studio, this album was mixed by Hervé Girardin.
Formerly keyboardist in UK cult band James, with whom he also co-wrote and recorded material, he was also a guitarist and songwriter for St. Vitus Dancers prior to that. Since cutting his teeth on the UK music scene from the early 1980s to early 1990s, his independent creative projects have received nine awards from Arts Council England and a Business Development Award from Creative England, as well as being commissioned for various projects by the University of Manchester and the Manchester Science Festival.
Evans also revealed the video for synthwave track ‘Made Of Stars’, a song that stems from the theory that the building blocks of life on Earth come from space – ultimately, we are made of stars. The lyrics are deliberately simple – words for “life” spoken in different languages – as vocoder vocals and sequenced synths, representing the different ways that life evolves. This song opens the album which is bookended by the final track ‘Constellation’ as its closing piece in keeping its celestial theme.
“This video for Made Of Stars, filmed by Jason Lock, is based on the live show where I perform inside a cube as video projections run on the screens. We wanted to capture the live experience which uses the cube as a centrepiece so that the music and visuals are the focus for a creative exploration of the impacts of climate change. For this song, the video content includes data visualisations of temperature rises over the last century and a beautiful melting sun animation, created specially for this project by award-winning artist Valentina D’Efilippo,” says Richard Evans.
Earlier, Evans released the Hiroshima/Nagasaki-inspired lead track ‘Black Rain’, the accompanying video for which surrounds the same themes, was filmed at the University of Salford / MediaCityUK by Ashley Tidball, Timur Atilgan and Will Wood.
On ‘Sentinel’, analogue synths and sequences are mixed with melodic vocal hooks and drum machine rhythms. Recorded during the COVID lockdowns, the album’s concept was spawned several years ago during an acclaimed multimedia live show that explores climate change in sound and light, featuring electronic music, video and data visualisation content. Originally commissioned by Manchester Science Festival with additional support from Arts Council England and Creative England, it has since been performed at festivals across the country.
Ground-breaking saxophonist NiftySax announced the release of his latest double album, Spheres on the 4th of February 2022 via Legato Music which will contain carefully crafted 55 tracks. On the LP, listeners will find the ethereal ‘Shaula’ which has been released as an Instagrat along with the track, ‘Proxima Centauri’ on the 28th of January. The classically trained artist established a firm name for himself as Milo Lombardi in the jazz community and has performed throughout Europe. It was during this time that he ran a highly successful crowd-funding campaign which would help him release the Going Nowhere (Enjoying the Ride) LP. More recently, however, we see the artist breaking the mould and creating a solo persona, NiftySax in which he focuses on the saxophone as his only medium.
The Stolen Moans
The Stolen Moans are a DIY, female-fronted, indie rock trio from Los Angeles, CA. Rising from the smoldering debris of various punk and metal bands, three friends decided to pool their talents into something new, nimble and openly collaborative. The result, a raw explosion of ideas and music that capture the siren call of elemental Rock and Roll.
2018 saw the release of the Stolen Moans debut single The King of Claws complete with a prescient (and fully animated) music video showing a charismatic despot and his hate fueled mob attacking a city. The year ended with a live evening concert broadcast on LA’s commercial free radio station KXLU
2019 was a woodshed year for the band. Live shows were put on hold while a fresh batch of songs were written, rehearsed and recorded (including a fun tribute to Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy released that December).
2020 a small tour was booked and an album was planned for release but we all know how that story ended.
2021 the bands first EP – TREES was released, revealing a furious blend of macabre feminism, floor pounding punk rock and an all night Euro dance party ( complete with garden gnomes ).
Finishing out the 2021 was the single MORE. Described succinctly by the mastering engineer as “Dolly Parton taking the Dead Kennedys to school”. This proto-punk twang banger explores the age old theme of work place misogyny ( much like Dolly’s iconic hit, ‘9 to 5” ).
2022 in an unexpected change of pace, the band release the melodically wistful single FALLING INTO A song that grapples with the dizzying intoxication and lingering turmoil of intense romantic entanglements. Available everywhere on Saint Valentines Day
Finally, the Stolen Moans mission is simple, “do more with less, while having fun doing it” and of course share the results with their listeners. As fortune favors the brave … the muse favors the “experimentalers” ; )
The Stolen Moans are:
Vivian – Lead vocals, cello, theremin, bass synth
Chane – Guitar, piano, backing vocals
Eric – Drums, trumpet, backing vocals
The Long Hunt
‘Threshold Wanderer’ is the newest album by the Pittsburgh-based instrumental trio The Long Hunt, following 2017’s ‘Wilderness Tales’ EP and 2018’s ‘All Paths Lead to Here’ full-length.
In contrast to the dry minimalism and sparse textures that defined the first two records, the songs on ‘Threshold Wanderer’ are often lush, dense, and verdant. Musical styles range from post-rock to post-metal, heavy psychedelic, doom, drone, and even a few hints of prog and classic rock. ‘Threshold Wanderer’ is all about musical exploration and traveling between worlds.
The album was recorded, mixed, and mastered in the first quarter of 2020, with the intent to release it later that year. Due to the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic, those plans were unfortunately shelved. Not to be deterred by events beyond their control, the band soldiered on behind the scenes.
Paris Music Corp.
Texas-based electronic music artist Paris Music Corp., the moniker of experimental and ambient composer John Andrew Paris, has released a brilliantly fluid self-titled album and colorful chilled video for the lead track ‘Light Speed’. With 14 tracks on offer, this is his first record in half a decade, the previous release being the ‘Rewind’ LP in 2017.
John Andrew Paris hails from Austin, where he has spent decades creating music and collaborating with numerous artists, including Arthur Brown (The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, perhaps best known for his hit single ‘Fire’), as well as DJ Rev Kathy Russell, DJ Lucas Ray, Catastrophe Ballet, Le Reve, Life’s Eyes, Beast of Eden, OBOYO and Don Wigwam.
Paris has also scored 2 independent films – the historical documentary ‘Andy Paris: Bubble Gum King’, also released as an album, and the short horror film ‘Spectral Wind’. He has also created a clever electronic rework of ‘Lord of the Dance’ for the Austin Christmas Collection Album.