We are fast approaching the 500th edition of the Aural Delights Radio Show and to my mind i’ve gone as far as I can with it in the two hour format – it has been around since 2010 and is starting to feel a little tired. Recently I have found it increasingly difficult to find enough music to fill the 120 minutes. From July onward, and after the 500th episode therefore, that Thursday Night show on taintradio will be replaced by an additional episode of the World of Jazz show. There is no shortage of new jazz material to share with you. There will be four hours of mostly new jazz a week therefore with that Thursday night show eventually focusing on free/improvised music.
It is not the end of Aural Delights completely though as the Sunday show on the Overflow Sunday Service on River Gibbs FM is continuing – I feel a lot more comfortable with the hours worth of music in that context. A lot of the regular features from the Thursday night show will transfer over to the Sunday including my regular visit to Dave Graney and Clare Moore’s recorded catalogue, and the new releases from German Shepherd Records.
Talking of German Shepherd Records there are two major releases this week from the label.
Firstly, Ian Moss and Paul Rosenfeld aka 2 Lost Souls begin a mammoth 52 week run of singles releases with the aptly titled “Commodification” – there’s an option to buy a subscription for the whole series at the reduced price of £20 at the German Shepherd Website. Paul and Ian have been pretty damn hard to keep up with their regular releases but this project really exceeds their usual volumnous output and caps their career to date.
Secondly we finally have the release of the long awaited debut from Weimar. Called “Dancing On A Volcano” it follows the hugely successful “Girls Of LA” single, which has been getting some serious attention from reviewers, bloggers and playlist compilers over the last month or so. I predict the album is likely to get similar if not greater levels of attention.
Long in gestation because of the Covid thing the album has been well worth the wait. It is a triumph.
You cannot pigeon hole Weimar. Lumping them in with the “alternative/indie rock” pile is narrow-minded in the extreme. They are much more than “four chaps from Manchester with two guitars and a bass & drums”. Indeed the breadth of material and the depth of content on this release echoes the cabaret of the republic they derive their name from. I grind my teeth when reviewers attempt to put them in a Manchester box, they are a truly international band.
The key outstanding element, and there are many other points of interest making up the albums qualities, is Aidan Cross’s singular vocal style. Comparisons can be dangerous but I am tempted to mention Howard Devoto, David Byrne, Lou Reed, and yes, even Mark Edward Smith, not because Aidan sounds like any of them, but because, like them, he has an ineffable vocal quality which sets him apart from what you might be listening to on 6Music this week. Listening to the pile of new music that comes in every week I struggle to find a band or indeed a singer that does not sound all too familiar. Thankfully Weimar are the exception. Iconoclastic.
With a number of guest artists brought in to fill out the sound, saxophones. and keyboards for example, and the hand of former guitarist Johann Kloos clearly in play, this is a debut album of outstanding quality and variety. Each new listen reveals further layers of detail. Impossible to single out any one track for attention they are all of equal quality.
Far too many albums these days are just a by-the-numbers set list. “Dancing On A Volcano” is a complex collection of stories – the group explore moods, emotions and locations – the vibe is noir, sultry and sexy, a Cabaret show for the 21st Century.
I recommend it to you without reservation.
ps…. make the most of German Shepherd Records, it won’t be around for very much longer, but fear not, something different, and smaller, will emerge phoenix like from its ashes……