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The Asteroid No.4 – Northern Songs (Little Cloud Records / Cardinal Fuzz 18 September 2020)

California-based psych-rock legends The Asteroid No.4 to release ‘Northern Songs’ LP

Psychedelic rock / power pop legends The Asteroid No.4 will release their new album ‘Northern Songs’ LP on September 18. This much-anticipated collection of tracks will be released through a partnership with UK-based Cardinal Fuzz Records and Portland’s Little Cloud Records.

Stalwarts of the modern ‘psych’ genre, they are known for their prolific discography of reverb-drenched recordings and liquid-projected live performances. With a sound all their own and neo-psychedelic / shoegaze learnings, they are often compared to acts like Spacemen 3 and Paisley Underground kingpins The Rain Parade.

This new track comes on the trail of singles ‘Swiss Mountain Myth’‘The After Glow’ and ‘Northern Song’.

Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Asteroid No.4 originated in Philadelphia in the latter half of the 1990s and gradually began to relocate westwards in 2011. After several lineup changes, for the last decade, the band has been foundationally comprised of Scott Vitt (vocals, guitar), Eric Harms (guitar), Adam Weaver (drums, vocals) and Matty Rhodes (bass, vocals).

‘Northern Songs’ is the band’s tenth full length record, following up the ‘Collide’ LP in 2018. Here, the 12-string folk-rock jangle of the mid-60’s Byrds is overlaid with the washed-out vocal harmonies of Ride and topped off with psychedelic drones familiar to Spacemen 3. This is a hypnotic hybrid of several different genres filtered through the kaleidoscope of all things psychedelic.

On this new album, they did all writing, playing, recording, mixing and mastering in their own studio. This is the first time they’ve gone fully DIY since their fourth album ‘An Amazing Dream’ (2006), where the band finally found their own trademark sound.

“This is a first for us as we’ve always had at least guest musicians or someone else mix or master. It was an experiment on what we could do ourselves and testing our new studio in San Rafael, CA for the first time. Our sound is primarily rooted in the British indie music from the 80s and 90s. This is the music we grew up on, we still listen to today, and what happens as a natural result of our songwriting,” says Scott Vitt.

“Lyrically there’s reference to what is happening both socially and politically in the world around us. We wanted to make an album that brought an air of calm or even nostalgia, to remind people that there was a time, not all that long ago, when things seemed way more normal compared to what we’re experiencing today.”

A dynamic live act, The Asteroid No.4 integrate multi-textured guitars and reverb-drenched vocal harmonies over an unwavering rhythm section. Their prolific output has earned them a dedicated fan base within the flourishing underground psychedelic scene, with over a dozen compilation appearances, digital-only rarity releases, and multiple singles and EPs.

Named after Vesta, the brightest asteroid in our solar system, their moniker is an obvious nod to Spacemen 3, one of the band’s main influences. In fact, one of the group’s earliest recordings was a faithful cover of their ‘Losing Touch with My Mind‘. Released via UK label Rocket Girls tribute compilation to the 80’s legends, Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember himself named the song as a stand-out track in an interview with Magnet Magazine.

As of September 18, the ‘Northern Songs’ LP will be available digitally online, including via Apple Music, Spotify and directly from the band via Bandcamp and their own website. 

Keep up with The Asteroid No.4
Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Soundcloud | Spotify | Apple Music | Booking USA | Booking UK/Europe | Press contact

Keep up with Little Cloud Records
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Posted by on September 18, 2020 in Psychedelic, Rock

 

Death Valley Girls – Under the Spell of Joy (Suicide Squeeze 2 October 2020)

While studies have been conducted aiming to understand the science behind music, our inexplicable ability to tap into the emotions of another human being by way of arrangements of sonic frequencies still seems a bit like magic. LA’s Death Valley Girls have always sought to wield that magic like ancient mystics, creating psychic bonds with willing ears through the medium of their fiery rock n’ roll.

On the surface, previous albums like Glow in the Dark and Darkness Rains were rowdy mash-ups of early American punk, sun-baked psych rock, and proto-metal fire-and-brimstone guitar worship, yet there was always an undercurrent of some kind of strange, celebratory communal ritual in their music. With their latest album Under the Spell of Joy, the band dives even deeper into that magical cosmic energy.

The album title Under the Spell of Joy comes from the text on a t-shirt from San Diego heavy psych rockers Joy that was handed off to Death Valley Girls’ vocalist/guitarist Bonnie Bloomgarden, who wore the shirt for five years straight, treating it like a talisman. “I read it as being about manifesting your biggest dreams and responding thoughtfully and mindfully to everything that comes in your path with joy and compassion first,” Bloomgarden explains. “There is a lot to be really angry about in the world but joy is just as powerful if used correctly!” The band sought to create a spiritual record—what Bloomgarden describes as a “space gospel”—with the intention of bringing people together and creating the kind of participatory musical experience people have in places of worship. It’s a record loaded with chants, choirs, and rousing choruses, all for the purpose of encouraging people to sing along. Where the band had once sought to connect people through more esoteric means, they now tap into the age-old tradition of uniting people by inviting them to be an active part of the music.

While Bloomgarden and guitarist Larry Schemel knew their intention for the album before a single note was written, the actual nature and direction of the music was a mystery. The initial inspiration for the record came from the jubilant spirit of Ethiopian funk records the band had been listening to on tour, but once they began to channel the songs it seemed like the music came from somewhere not in the past but in the future. In the weeks leading up to recording, Death Valley Girls relied on their subconscious and effortlessly conjured Under the Spell of Joy’s eleven tracks as if they’d tapped into the Akashic Chronicle and pulled the music from the ether.

The album opens with “Hypnagogia,” an ode to the space between sleep and wakefulness where we are open to other realms of consciousness. The song slowly builds along a steady pulse provided by bassist Pickle (Nicole Smith) and drummer Rikki Styxx. Tripped out saxophone bleats from guest player Gabe Flores swirl on top of the organ drones laid out by guest keyboardist Gregg Foreman. The band’s choral objectives for Under the Spell of Joy are established right off the bat, with Bloomgarden’s melodic invocations bolstered by a choir, giving the album a rich and vibrant wall-of-sound aesthetic. The song ominously builds on its hypnotic foundation until it opens up into a raucous revelry at the four-minute mark. The portentous simmer of the opening track yields to the ecstatic rocker “Hold My Hand,” where verses reminiscent of Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man” explode into big triumphant choruses. From there the band launches into the title track, which marries the griminess of The Stooges with an innocence provided by a children’s choir chanting the album’s primary mantra “under the spell of joy / under the spell of love.”

Death Valley Girls have always vacillated between lightness and darkness, and on “Bliss Out” they demonstrate their current exuberant focus with a patina-hued pop song driven by an irrepressibly buoyant organ line laid down by keyboardist The Kid (Laura Kelsey). A similar cosmic euphoria is obtained on “The Universe,” where alternating chords on the organ help elevate soaring saxophone and keyboard lines out beyond the stratosphere. If you’re looking for transcendental rock music, look no further.

The world is crazy right now and it feels like we should be doing more than just trying to perpetuate joy,” Bloomgarden says. “I think music becomes a part of you. Like Black Sabbath’s first record is as much a part of me as my own music. I think you can listen to music or song to get lost in it, or you can listen to music to find something in your self or the world that either you never had or just went missing. I want people to sing to this record, make it their own, and focus on manifesting their dreams as much as they can!

Suicide Squeeze Records is proud to offer up Death Valley Girls’ Under the Spell of Joy to the world on October 2, 2020 on CD/LP/CS and digital formats. First vinyl pressing is limited to 1500 copies (1200 on gold, 300 on label-exclusive silver).

 

Schizo Fun Addict – The Last Wave (Friends of the Fish 40/Flicknife Records, August 8th)

Schizo Fun Addict were formed in Manchester by Jet Winter and Jayne Gabriel on January 1st, 2000.

Two months later, their ‘lo-fi Mary Chain meets Pet Sounds’ sound got the band a great review in UNCUT and feature in MOJO.

In 2008, they became the first band to appear on the Fruits de Mer label – in fact, FdM would never have happened without them – and in 2018 they gave a lucky bunch of FdM club members and festival goers exclusive (AND FREE!) copies of ‘The Sun Yard‘ on vinyl; the relationship continues on this release which joins Fruits de Mer with the rather more legendary Flicknife Records.

In 2018, indie legend Rex John Shelverton (Tamaryn/VUE) joined on guitar and production for their album ‘El Shoegaze Bossa Nova‘ (released on Sugarbush Records) that got a 5/5 review in Shindig and was chosen by Goldmine’s Dave Thompson as one of his top 10 new music releases of 2018; Dave recently called the band, “the greatest musical secret of the 21st century“!

Now, their new album (also produced by Shelverton), ‘The Final Wave’ is released in a very limited edition clear/turquoise vinyl LP including various goodies, available in very limited numbers to FdM club members (Flicknife have produced the CD version, which sold out rather quickly).

 
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Posted by on July 30, 2020 in Psychedelic

 

The Asteroid No.4 – The After Glow (Little Cloud Records 19 June 2020)

U.S. psych-rock stalwarts The Asteroid No.4 announce new album, preview ‘The After Glow’ single

Psychedelic rock legends The Asteroid No.4 have announced their forthcoming album ‘Northern Songs’, to be released later this summer via a partnership with UK-based Cardinal Fuzz Records and Portland’s Little Cloud Records. Ahead of this, they present their new single ‘The After Glow’.

Here, the 12-string folk-rock jangle of the mid-60’s Byrds is overlaid with the washed-out vocal harmonies of Ride and topped off with psychedelic drones familiar to Spacemen 3. This is a hypnotic hybrid of several different genres filtered through the kaleidoscope of all things psychedelic.

Now based in the San Francisco Bay Area, The Asteroid No.4 originated in Philadelphia in the latter half of the 1990s and gradually began to relocate westwards in 2011. After several lineup changes, for the last decade, the band has been foundationally comprised of Scott Vitt (vocals, guitar), Eric Harms (guitar), Adam Weaver (drums, vocals) and Matty Rhodes (bass, vocals).

‘Northern Songs’ is the band’s tenth full length record, following up the ‘Collide’ LP in 2018. On this new album, they did all writing, playing, recording, mixing and mastering in their own studio. This is the first time they’ve gone fully DIY since their fourth album ‘An Amazing Dream’ (2006), where the band finally found their own trademark sound.

“This is a first for us as we’ve always had at least guest musicians or someone else mix or master. It was an experiment on what we could do ourselves and testing our new studio in San Rafael, CA for the first time. Our sound is primarily rooted in the British indie music from the 80s and 90s. This is the music we grew up on, we still listen to today, and what happens as a natural result of our songwriting,” says Scott Vitt.

Considered stalwarts of the modern ‘psych’ genre, they are known for their prolific discography of reverb-drenched recordings and liquid-projected live performances. With a sound all their own and neo-psychedelic / shoegaze learnings, they are often compared to acts like Spacemen 3 and Paisley Underground kingpins The Rain Parade.

“‘Northern Songs’ is a nod to us now being a Northern California band and finally settled in our new home and studio. Even with our past two albums, both released while we were CA residents, there was still a song or fragments that were carried from when we were still in Philadelphia. This is our first west coast record through and through,” says Scott Vitt.

“Lyrically there’s reference to what is happening both socially and politically in the world around us. We wanted to make an album that brought an air of calm or even nostalgia, to remind people that there was a time, not all that long ago, when things seemed way more normal compared to what we’re experiencing today.”

Known as a dynamic live act, The Asteroid No.4 integrate multi-textured guitars and reverb-drenched vocal harmonies over an unwavering rhythm section. Their prolific recording output has earned them a dedicated fan base within the flourishing underground psychedelic scene, with over a dozen compilation appearances, digital-only rarity releases, and multiple singles and EPs.

Named after Vesta, the brightest asteroid in our solar system, their moniker is an obvious nod to Spacemen 3, one of the band’s main influences. In fact, one of the group’s earliest recordings was a faithful cover of their ‘Losing Touch with My Mind‘. Released via UK label Rocket Girls tribute compilation to the 80’s legends, Pete ‘Sonic Boom’ Kember himself named the song as a stand-out track in an interview with Magnet Magazine.

As of June 19, ‘The After Glow’ will be available digitally online, including via Bandcamp and Spotify. The full album ‘Northern Songs’ will released later this summer. 

Keep up with The Asteroid No.4
Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify | Apple Music | Booking USA | Booking UK/Europe | Press contact

Keep up with Little Cloud Records
Website | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in Psychedelic, Rock

 

The City Gates – Siegfried 1969 (Velouria Recordz 22 July 2020)

Montreal’s The City Gates unleashes ‘Siegfried 1969’ feat. guest appearances from Vlimmer and La Mécanique members

Montreal-based postpunk shoegaze band The City Gates present their new single ‘Siegfried 1969’ via their own imprint Velouria Recordz. This is a hard-hitting track that surrounds Cold War thematics about the stark contrast and juxtapositional realities between East and West during that time.

This new collaboration features contributions by Francis Nothingwater of Canadian cold wave band La Mécanique and Alexander Donat of  German alternative music outfits Vlimmer, Whole and Fir Cone Children and owner of Blackjack Illuminist Records.

This single previews the collective’s next album, which is expected to be released in autumn of 2020. This newest offering thematically follows up  singles ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ and ‘Cape of Good Hope’, the latter of which will also appear on their forthcoming long-play and was released in 2019 on ‘Zeitgeist vol. 10’, released via Cold Transmission, and on ‘Northern Noise Vol. I’ (Velouria Recordz).

Well known for heaping on the reverb, fuzz and delay, The City Gates can be described as a modern answer to Phil Spector’s infamous “Wall of Sound. Their music is intense, powerful, melodic, moody, textured and raw. With a sound esthetic and lyrics deeply rooted in the cold war era, they sway between dark melancholic guitars and glimmers of nostalgia.

photo by Suzy Guevin

“I have German ancestors and have much love for the Neue Deutsche Welle, and German 80’s post punk / darkwave / cold wave music scene, such as Xmal Deutschland D.A.F., Grauzone (actually from Switzerland) and Asmodi Bizarr. I took a German language course at university back in the day, but it’s not really good enough for a full song in German. So I asked my German friend Alexander Leonard Donat of Vlimmer to give me a hand with this,” says Maxime Wingender.

The seeds of this collaboration were planted when Nothingwater and The City Gates frontman Maxime Wingender organized the Montreal-based postpunk / shoegaze / cold wave Velouria Fest, where the two bands shared the stage. Shortly after, Nothingwater created a drum machine loop track for a demo Wingenger sent him. German lyrics were added later.

“The lyrics are about my grandfather who was one of the most famous pianists in the German Democratic Republic (GDR) during the Cold War era. In the song, I compare the Berlin Wall with his personal life. He recognizes that he tries to shut out people, similar to what the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED – the only party option in the GDR) did,” says Alexander Donat.

“People from the GDR were not allowed to go to Western territories. The Berlin Wall was heavily guarded. People who tried to flee were shot. For artists like my grandfather, it was easier to travel the world. He played in Syria, Australia and many more places. Most Eastern European people were not able to travel to Western countries. They could only travel to Eastern destinations like Romania, Bulgaria and Russia.”

The City Gates acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters.

As of July 22, ‘Siegfried 1969’ will be available via online stores such as Apple Music and streaming platforms such as Spotify. Until then, it can be pre-ordered directly from the band via their Bandcamp page.

CREDITS
Written and produced by The City Gates
Maxime Wingender: Guitars, vocals, bass, keys
François Marsan: Guitars, bass, vocals, keys
Justin Morneau: Drums, keys
Lyrics and back vocals by Alexander Leonard Donat
Drum machine by Francis Nothingwater
Mixed by François Marsan
Mastered by Harris Newman at Grey Market Mastering (Montreal)
Cover artwork by Geneviève Trottier Longpré
The City Gates acknowledge the financial support of FACTOR, the Government of Canada, and Canada’s private radio broadcasters. Ce projet a été rendu en partie possible en partie grâce au gouvernement du Canada

Keep up with The City Gates
Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter | Soundcloud | YouTube | Spotify | Northern Light Records | Booking contact | Press contact

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2020 in New Wave / Dark Wave

 

New Clan of Xymox album and video

Over the years, Clan Of Xymox has always been revered for their signature melancholic sound that in 1985 was aptly dubbed as “Darkwave” by British radio icon John Peel. Following their recent singles, both “She” and “Lovers”, 2020 witnesses the release of the brand new album “Spider On The Wall.” Both dark and intimate, Xymox leader Ronny Moorings and the band continue to masterfully explore their Electro meets Gothic sound first mined on their debut 1985 self-titled album released by 4AD and now finds them releasing their sixteenth studio album “Spider On The Wall.” Additionally, Clan of Xymox have just released a new video for the song “All I Ever Know” from the new album. “Spider On The Wall” will be released by Metropolis Records on July 24th through all digital and streaming formats as well as on CD.

Formed in Amsterdam in 1984, Clan of Xymox became one of the mainstays of the 4AD label. Along with label mates such as Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance the Clan’s dark electro-gothic approach to music quickly became the benchmark by which all other bands to follow were judged. Prior to their 4AD days, Clan of Xymox released “Subsequent Pleasures” on their own label in a limited run of 500 vinyl copies. Their self titled debut, released in 1985 on 4AD, was highlighted by the club classics “A Day” and “Stranger“. In 1987, the band was included on 4AD’s popular “Lonely as an Eyesore” compilation with “Muscoviet Musquito“, as well as releasing their darker follow-up CD, “Medusa” and the 12 inch “A Million Things“.

In 1988, Clan of Xymox changed labels, moving to Wing, a subsidiary of PolyGram, and shortened their name to Xymox. Modifying their sound to appeal to a larger audience, their 1989 debut record for Wing, “Twist of Shadow“, sold in excess of 300,000 copies. Following up the album was three extremely successful 12 inches: “Obsession”, “Imagination”, and “Blind Hearts“. “Phoenix” followed two years later, but without the same clout as their three predecessor albums.

After leaving Wing in the early nineties, Xymox became the sole signing to the independent label, Zok Records. They released four recordings, primarily in the dance genre: “Metamorphosis”, “Headclouds”, one remix CD, and they re-released “Subsequent Pleasures“.

In 1997, the band reclaimed their original name, Clan of Xymox, and began the work of reclaiming their original sound and glory. “Hidden Faces“, produced by Dave Allen (of Sisters fame) and John Rivers (of Love and Rockets note) hearkened back to the 4AD years, and although it did not completely regain the power of their initial sound, it was clearly the best work they had done since “Medusa”. This release was followed by a number of American and European dates, including co-headlining the Zillo and Leipzig festivals in Germany. In relation to these intriguing live shows, Pandemonium records released two singles “Out of the Rain” and “This World” which rose to the top 10 in the German Independent Charts.

In 1999, Clan of Xymox signed on with Metropolis Records, and delivered “Creatures” to a public that had been waiting for the true follow-up to 1985’s “Clan of Xymox” album for 14 years. “Creatures” not only captures the sound of their amazing debut (which has also been reissued in 1999 along with “Medusa”), but infuses it with the dark rock and Gothic guitar styles of such masterful bands as The Sisters of Mercy.

2000 marked a first for the Clan of Xymox. After thousands of requests from fans for a live album, Clan of Xymox returned with “Live“, a double live CD which featured nineteen tracks and two videos. All of the tracks were recorded during their Central and South American tour in 1999. A re-issue of the ever increasingly hard to find Subsequent Pleasures EP featuring many obscure pre-4AD demos, as well as a new single, “Liberty,” followed.

Metropolis’s second studio album by the Clan of Xymox was 2001’s “Notes from the Underground.” A double remix CD was released the year after titled “Remixes from the Underground,” featuring the mixing talents of Front 242, Beborn Beton, Iris, Assemblage23 and many more. Clan of Xymox spent the two years following “Notes from the Underground” to work on the next record, “Farewell,” which was released in 2003.

One year later, the band released their first ‘best of’ CD simply titled, “The Best of Clan of Xymox.” In the words of Ronny Moorings, “The most difficult task was to pick the best of songs…but with the help of our fans who voted for their favorite songs on-line we finally got the resulting tracks… Whilst listening to the final running order as listed here I just got swept from period to period, remembering all kind of people and situations. I am sure you too will have memories with certain tracks, so all I want to say to you now is: cherish your moments in life!

For 2006, Clan of Xymox released the “Weak In My Knees” digital single as a precursor to the album “Breaking Point.” The album exhibited a more mature sound than on its predecessors, and leaned more towards dark rock than gothic rock.

In 2009, the band’s twenty-fifth year, Clan of Xymox presented “In Love We Trust.” The stunning opus adroitly combined the early melancholic 4AD sound of the band with the glimmering synthesizer sounds of the 90s and the power of classic darkwave. Past and present were perfectly combined to showcase the music that has kept Clan of Xymox relevant and popular after all this time. With the release, Clan of Xymox demonstratively returned to its roots while nevertheless remaining up to date. After spending the past two and a half decades forging a path for others to follow in the dark music scene, “In Love We Trust” proves above all that their creative potential is a long way from coming to an end. This holds true with 2011’s Darkest Hour and the covers album Kindred Spirits, a collection of covers from artists that the band cherishes such as the Sisters Of Mercy, The Cure, Depeche Mode, David Bowie, Joy Division, Nine Inch Nails, Test Dept., and more.

In its long and storied history, Clan Of Xymox has developed a signature dark electro-gothic sound that has made the act adored around the world. With the new album, Matters of Mind, Body and Soul, the band explores its signature, melancholic sound, as evidenced by standout tracks such as “I Close My Eyes” and “I’ll Let You Go.”

 
 

An interview with Keith Jones, owner of Fruits de Mer Records

In 2017 the postman delivered a promo pack for my Blackout Radio Show, Fuchsia‘s double single ‘Song’ and Sidewalk Society’s album “Strange Roads: The Songs Of Rolled Gold“.

Fuchsia’s first album was released in 1971, and it is widely regarded as one of the best examples of the prog folk scene of the 1970s. It has been hailed by Mojo Magazine as a “forgotten classic” and is regularly republished.

“Strange Roads: The Songs Of Rolled Gold” was a more bizarre case because Sidewalk Society is a trio from Long Beach, CA that took to the task to re-record the entire album of “Rolled Gold”, an album of the 60’s English mod band, The Action.

The sender of the package was the English label, Fruits de Mer Records and when I kept receiving more of their wonderful releases, such as the triple album “Three Of A Kind” on which Polish multi-instrumentalist Kris Gietkowski re-recorded the first albums of Atomic Rooster, The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown and Egg, I told myself “there’s something’s going on here”.

After a few more awesome recordings such as Sendelica’s 3×10” “Cromlech Chronicles III“, the triple compilation for the celebration of the first 10 years of the label, Moon Goose’s album “Source Code” and many more, I asked Keith Jones, the man behind the Fruits de Mer Records, for an interview and he was kind enough  to take some time and talk about the “Fruits of the Sea”.

 

You founded Fruits de Mer Records with Andy Bracken in 2008. Andy was operating Bracken Records but did you have any previous experience with any record label?

None at all! I only got involved with Fruits de Mer because Andy was a mate and we had an idea for a label that released classic and long-lost tracks from the 60s/early 70s on vinyl and he wanted someone to share the pain!

After Andy left Fruits de Mer Records in 2012, I guess it must have been difficult for you in the beginning. How did you manage to continue with the label?

Yes, Andy had already spent a few years running Bracken and had taken things as far as he really wanted to. I was just warming up – and had retired from the real world – so taking on the running of FdM was perfect timing for me; I couldn’t have done it without being able to call on some key people – Nick Leese at Heyday Mail Order, producer Fran Ashcroft and the people at the Record Industry pressing plant and Clear Spot Distribution; but most of all, the people who found FdM through Andy and Bracken stuck with the label – it only works if people actually want to buy the records.

What is the mission of Fruits de Mer?

To release records that I’d buy myself if I saw them, to share some great music and artists that might otherwise be missed, to have some fun and hope other people who are music obsessives pick up on it.

Why only vinyl releases and how many have you put out so far? Lately, there is a feeling that the market for vinyl records is doing a come-back. Is it true? Are you a record collector yourself?

Actually, I’m releasing more and more on CD – I’m starting to feel nostalgic for CDs already! Vinyl always comes first, but CDs are an excellent way to share and store a lot of music cheaply and it’s possible to recreate some of the physical/tactile aspects of vinyl – they’re a second-best of course, but they do mean something, unlike downloads.

I’m not sure how many releases there have been in total – around 150 on vinyl?

I think the vinyl revival has been seriously overhyped – we launched FdM when vinyl was dead in the water, just because we loved the look, feel and sound of vinyl; it then became a fad a few years ago…collecting for the sake of it  – fed by Record Store Day and major label reissues – it’s all calming down again now, people buying records for the music.

And yes, I’ve been collecting records for 50+ years – I’ve got rather a lot of CDs too!

Which are the 5 non Fruits de Mer releases that you would take with you to a desert island?

Every day a different choice – but today: The Pretty Things’ ‘SF Sorrow’, Led Zeppelin IV, Pete Namlook & Richie Hawtin’s ‘From Within, Jethro Tull’s ‘Thick As A Brick’ and a very large Sandy Denny box-set.

Fruits De Mer Records has several imprint labels, including Regal Crabomophone, Strange Fish, Friends Of The Fish, Head Cleaner and Tiny. What is the difference between them?

We set up ‘Regal Crabomophone’ to release a single by The Chemistry Set that included a newly-written song, so it became the home for releases that include tracks that aren’t covers.

Strange Fish’ is for the more ‘out there’/experimental releases (I didn’t want people who liked to collect everything on FdM to feel they had to buy releases that didn’t necessarily match our psych/prog/acid-folk/krautrock slogan).

“Friends of the Fish” is a bit of a catch-all…for limited-run lathe-cut releases (usually produced as specials for gigs), some CD compilations and for records that artists self-release but I like enough to want to help on the promotion side).

Head Cleaner’ was a one-off for a Cranium Pie double cassette and ‘Tiny’ is home to (so far) three 5” lathe-cut singles.

It’s all got pretty confusing – but I like to think that just adds to the fun (that’s my excuse, anyway)

Do you believe that the music today misses something compared to the music of the ‘60s or the 70s?

I think the big difference is that music meant so much more, to so many more, in the 60s/70s, when I was growing up; it meant everything – owning records, seeing bands, arguing who was the best, reading the music mags…now it‘s a niche thing, a background to other stuff, it doesn’t matter in the way it once did.

Some of your releases are sold out before they are even released. How does this happen? Is there a members club that are lucky enough to put their hands on your releases first? How can one become member of this club?

The least interesting thing about running a record label is packing and posting records! I’m not trying to make money out of FdM, I’m trying to have fun – I’d sooner sell out and move onto the next release than spent weeks/months pushing the back-catalogue (although I do that as well!). The members club is free to join and there are no commitments to buy future releases, but it’s really there for people who like most of what we do, who want to get their orders in early and can cope with lots of irritating emails from me; there’s a longer email list for people who just want to dip in and out – I try to explain it on the FdM website!

Every year Fruits de Mer releases a double album recorded on previous year’s Dream of Dr. Sardonicus, a festival in which exquisite names of the scene appear. The 17th will be released in late July and it’s already sold out. Can you give us some information regarding the Dreams Of Dr Sardonicus Festivals that you organize every year?

It’s really organised by Pete Bingham from Sendelica – I just help with spreading the word, running a stall at the venue (The Cellar Bar in Cardigan) and pulling together the almost-legendary FdM goodie-bags – free to everyone attending. It’s got a life of its own – it’s become a gathering of the friends of the label – small, relaxed, a bit scruffy but very friendly (a bit like me), with some mazing bands agreeing to play, such as The Bevis Frond, Groundhogs, The Chemistry Set, Vibravoid and, of course, Sendelica. This year, Man were due to headline – but the virus has meant we’ve had to skip a year – we’ll be back in 2021!

Are the artists free to choose which songs to cover for compilations like “Goldfish – Fruits De Mer Records 10 years on vinyl” or “The Three Seasons – The Spring, Summer And Autumn Of Love”?

With ‘Goldfish’, that was a personal selection of some of my favourite recordings from the first 10 years of the label, but usually the artists come up with the tracks – sometimes I’ve suggested a ‘theme’ for a project and sometimes with artists I’ve known for a while I might subtly suggest specific songs – The Honey Pot are a bit like the FdM house band, they have been willing to take on some of the wilfully obscure tracks from the 60s I’ve thrown at them!

Which ‘60s psychedelic artist or band do you think is the most underrated and why?

The Pretty Things. Not just for SF Sorrow’,Parachute’ is a remarkable LP too. But they started as an R&B band and they came back to those blues roots in recent years, they were brilliant live and Phil May, who died earlier this year, became one of the best lead singers the UK has ever seen and heard.

Did Covid-19 made things more difficult for your label?

It put the mockers on our summer festival and I’ve had to delay everything by about three months and cut back on pressings – but if that’s all I’ve got to worry about this year I’ve been bloody lucky.

Is there a new psychedelic or prog scene in the UK?

Not that I’ve noticed. For there to be a scene, there needs to be lots  of psych/prog bands playing live regularly and lots of venues that welcome new psych/prog bands – I’ve not seen either; sadly, the number of venues seems to be declining steadily and the ones that are hanging on can get a bigger audience for a Bowie/Bolan impersonator than for a new band.

What’s next on your list for Fruits de Mer Records? What plans do you have?

We’ll be making up for lost time for the rest of 2020 – in the autumn there’ll be a big Sendelica retrospective, another fundraising project for Cardigan’s Cellar Bar and a couple of return visits to what is probably my favourite genre of music – krautrock…and quite a bit more!

Thank you very much for this interview

Fruits de Mer Records Website

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2020 in Prog-rock, Psychedelic

 

Love Sick – Remixed (Komplex Recordings 3 July 2020)

Felixity releases ‘Love Sick Remixed’ LP (with Barry Adamson, Danny Saber, Andy Spaceland, Martin Eden, James Sanger, Drunq, Black Star Liner, Thomas Gloor and Cenzo Townshend)

Amy Winehouse-inspired pop/neo-soul artist Felixity presents her new album ‘Love Sick Remixed’, hot on the trail of releasing her debut ‘Love Sick’ LP, both released via Komplex Recordings.

Taking advantage of the lockdown period, Felixity reached out to such epic music producers as Barry Adamson, Danny Saber, Andy Spaceland, Martin Eden, James Sanger, Drunq, Black Star Liner, Thomas Gloor, David Francolini and Cenzo Townshend, all of whom have come together to remix her original tracks.

Following up on her single ‘Twisted Love’, Felixity also presents her ‘Live in Lockdown’ video of this song, filmed in London and featuring Melissa Harrison on piano.

‘Love Sick’ is a collection of deeply personal songs that are part confessional, part exorcism and all infused with Felixity’s extraordinary voice and street-smart lyrics.

“On the whole, this music is a full stop on a part of my life. Written about personal experiences and laid over heavy drums and lots of strings, I wanted people to know that we all feel the same things and the hardest stuff never lasts. I wrote this about my past and the things that have happened. Sex, drugs love and addiction, it’s all in there,” says Felixity.

As of July 3, ‘Love Sick Remixed’ is available across digital platforms, including Apple Music and Spotify.

TRACK LIST
01  Breathing – Andy Spaceland DF Remix
02  The Bad Guy – EMP Remix
03  Twisted Love – Fuck Me Remix
04  Lazy Boi – Black Star Liner Remix
05  On My Knees – Drunq DF Remix
06  Twisted Love – Andy Spaceland Remix
07  Crazii – Barry Adamson Remix
08  Seize – Drunq DF Remix
09  Vanilla – James Sanger DF Remix
10  Y&M – Oberkon Remix
11  Twisted Love – Danny Saber Remix
12  Mr Brave – James Sanger DF Remix
13  Lazy Boi – Black Star Liner In Dub Remix

Keep up with Felixity
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Posted by on July 5, 2020 in Music

 

Mayflower Madame ‘Sacred Core’ from ‘Prepared For A Nightmare’ LP Only Lovers Records 3 July 2020

Nordic post-punk psychrockers Mayflower Madame present ‘Sacred Core’ from ‘Prepared For A Nightmare’ LP

Norwegian psychedelic post-punk outfit Mayflower Madame presents the third single ‘Sacred Core’ off their new second album ‘Prepared for a Nightmare’, released via French label Only Lovers Records in collaboration with Portland’s Little Cloud Records and Parisian label Icy Cold Records,

“Sacred Core is a song about getting lost, drifting away and trying to find the way back to your safe haven – guided by swirling, hypnotic guitars and an insistent, heavy beat. Compared to the shoegazey post-punk of the album’s previous singles ‘Vultures’ and ‘Swallow’, this track digs deeper into haunting, psychedelic territories, yet still maintaining our trademark dark and atmospheric sound,” says frontman Trond Fagernes.

The accompanying video was directed by Astrid Serck, who also created the videos for previous singles ‘Swallow’ and ‘Vultures’.

“To me, the song is like an open landscape – it’s grounded, but at the same time moving. I wanted to capture that feeling visually with footage from windmill fields and beaches, where there’s constant movement – like a rhythm, as opposed to the solid ground. A contrast between motion and stillness. Something to hold on to as well as something loose and vibrating,” says Astrid Serck.

“The core is what you hold on to. The motion is what you can let go. The sunbeams are blinding you, like a sacred light. The ceiling of a church is another symbol for sanctity. The moon is dancing, in disturbing ways, on the screen. In the video there is also an abandoned house, left with the door open. It´s a metaphor for the feeling of something that is lost, you can go back there, but only the memories are left. In addition there’s live footage of the band filmed from shows in Oslo and San Diego.”

‘Prepared For a Nightmare’ presents a dark and distinctive blend of post-punk, shoegaze and psychedelia. Here, the band delves deeper into their own distinctive blend of psych-noir and post-punk with elements of shoegaze and noise-rock.

Hailing from Oslo, Mayflower Madame is Trond Fagernes (vocals, guitars, bass), Håvard Haga (guitars) and Ola J. Kyrkjeeide (drums). Formed in 2011, they first rehearsed in a desolate industrial building, sharing space with a carwash company. Their hazy, smoke-laden sound was conceived naturally amidst these gritty surroundings. They soon recorded a four-track demo and became ‘Unsigned Band of the Week’ on a major Norway stations.

After a few years of touring, Mayflower Madame finally released their debut album ‘Observed in a Dream’ in 2016, followed by the ‘Premonition’ EP in 2018. Through eight tracks of theatrical psych-gaze exploration and dark romanticism, the album conveyed the wintry feeling of their home country – icy and gloomy, haunting and majestic.

Mayflower Madame has shared the stage with bands like Killing Joke, Moon Duo, Night Beats, Psychic Ills, Froth, The Underground Youth, Crocodiles, Cosmonauts and La Femme. They have also toured North America, the UK and Europe.

‘Prepared for a Nightmare’ was released on vinyl and CD on June 12. It is available through Bandcamp in all formats, as well as digitally via iTunes and Spotify.

CREDITS
Trond Fagernes – vocals, guitars, bass
Håvard Haga – guitars
Ola J. Kyrkjeeide – drums
Kenneth Eknes – synth on all tracks except 2, 6 & 7
Petter G. Marberg – bass on track 1 & 10
All songs written by Mayflower Madame / Trond Fagernes
Recorded by Trond Fagernes & Ola J. Kyrkjeeide at MaMa Studio, Oslo
Mixed by Bob de Wit (track 1, 5, 6 & 7), James Aparicio (track 2, 3 & 4) and James Trevascus (track 8, 9 & 10)
Mastered by Rafael Anton Irisarri at Black Knoll Studio, New York

Keep up with Mayflower Madame
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Posted by on July 3, 2020 in Post Punk, Psychedelic

 
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Various Artists – The 17th Dream of Dr. Sardonicus (July 27, Fruits De Mer Records)

 

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