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Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Pepper Pots album and tour

Spanish soul sensations The Pepper Pots are in a party mood, and that's because they are celebrating their tenth anniversary. It promises to be one of the The Pepper Pots' best years ever, starting with the release of the 'Time & Place' EP, recorded with American singer Eli "Paperboy" Reed, and continuing with a series of gigs where they will showcase their new album Train To Your Lover.

The tour has started, and one highlight will be the Soul Train Festival. It's a series of shows with no fixed abode, similar to the Motown Revue or the Stax Revue, where the greatest groups from these two legendary record companies would travel together and play under the same roof in venues around the world. The first Soul Train Fest can count with three highly rated groups from the local Catalonia soul scene: The Pepper Pots, The Sweet Vandals and The Cherry Boppers. Soul Train dates are:

In April, The Pepper Pots will start a tour which will hit a number of notable venues in UK. The tour starts on April 5th at Blackpool's Sans Venue and finishes on 12th at the same town. One of the standout shows will certainly be on April 8th, where they will play onstage for a third time with American singer Maxine Brown, considered by many as "the princess of Soul".

UK tour dates:
08/04 - LE BEAT BESPOKE LONDON, with Maxine Brown
09/04 - TBC
10/04 - TBC
11/04 - TBC

For more on The Pepper Pots visit their website, Facebook page and Twitter account.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Event: Happening the clubnight, London, Saturday March 3rd

HAPPENING CLUBNIGHT - Saturday March 3rd


The Liverpudlians are in town for a rare show, promoting second album ‘It Ain’t Human’. On the blog we said “Excellence permeates all areas of this record. It’s a record dipped in The Magic Band but not to the point of parody. Other touchstones are surely Howlin’ Wolf, The Jim Jones Revue and Nick Cave’s early work with Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party.

New London five-piece. “Sultry organ-led garage” - Rhys Webb, The Horrors. Think Shocking Blue meets Wimple Winch.

The debut show of four young men who are known for The Vinyl Stitches, Speak & The Spells & Organ Morgan. Expect rock’n’roll that takes in the likes of garage, psychedelia, krautrock & shoegaze and spits out nuggets of pleasure. Hypnotic, melodic - but hopefully not shambolic!

Then resident DJ Phil Istine and guest DJ Fritz (Buzzsaw Joint) will spin your world via ’60s/’70s dancefloor psychedelia, garage, beat, and general rock’n’roll wondermints!

@ The Drop
below The Three Crowns, 175 Stoke Newington High Street London N16 0LH
8pm-4am, Free before 9pm, then £6 entry. Buses: many. Train: Stoke Newington (from Liverpool St)

Record Review - Hooded Fang

Tosta Mista
Full Time Hobby CD

The excellent Full Time Hobby’s latest signings from Toronto trade a fine line in lo-fi reverb heavy garage indie-pop. It’s a pretty quirky 23 minutes. The album is essentially one rhythm track, but one mustn’t complain when that rhythm is so infectious. I don’t recall hearing one so affecting since the first Stroke album. High praise indeed. The singer sounds a little Stephen Malkmus-esque in places. Strong songs dot the album: detuned guitars on opener ‘Clap’ sits well with the biting lyrics to create a wonderfully woozy start. ‘ESP’ has wonderful squelchy guitars and is the most ‘60s thing on here (and not a million miles away from Horror Asparagus Stories), ‘Jubb’ is quite early Nirvana-esque with its grungey pop sensibility. If the word Weezer appears in this blog you won’t be scared I hope. Because it just did. ‘Vacationation’ thunders along in a mix of girl group/Phil Spector mannerisms, with a melody to recall The Ramones in their prime. And ‘Den Of Love’ starts off as an Elvis-style torch song, before a huge chorus of ‘whoahs’ send us into (fellow Canadians) Arcade Fire territory. It sounds like it was recorded in a cave, which I know infuriates certain record listeners, but on the big finale track we can forgive them, as it adds to the windswept vibe.

Its strange to think music this gloriously upbeat is actually mostly concerned about the break up of Daniel (guitar/vocals) and April (bass). Fans of Thee Oh Sees and Black Lips will heartily enjoy Tosta Mista. A band to keep an eye out for sure.

Phil Istine

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

News – Divisionists Celebrate Debut EP with Record Release Party

February 25 - The Victoria in Dalston

Special appearances by Alex Monk and ex-Spaceman, Pete Bassman

Brendan Quinn, former guitarist with late-'90s US psych band Abunai! (three albums on Camera Obscura and appearances at several Terrastock Festivals, including ULU in 1999) has announced the February 25 release of the debut EP by his latest band, Divisionists, "We Play Rock Music...", available on his own Mount Watatic records. Featuring hand screen printed artwork, the hand numbered, edition of 500 140-gram vinyl 45rpm EPs contain approximately 9 minutes of psychedelic pop per side. Digital tracks should also be available soon, from the usual outlets.

You can help the band celebrate at their record release party on 25 February at the Victoria in Dalston (London), which will also feature performances by Smeraldina-Rima Records recording artist Alex Monk, and former Spaceman, Pete Bassman.

Facebook event

Sunday, 19 February 2012

News – Shindig! All Back To Mine, Sean Rowley, BBC Radio Kent

You can listen to Jon and Andy's one hour mix of Soft US psych for Sean Rowley's BBC All Back To Mine show here.

Our track selection:

Monday, 13 February 2012

Live Review – The Black Keys


Alexandra Palace, London, February 11 2012

The great, and I truly mean great, thing about live music is that you can watch a band and think "What’s all the fuss about?", then see said same band again a year or so later and think "Oh my, how good are these cats!" It’s happened this weekend – I’ve finally succumbed to The Black Keys...

Firstly some words for support act Band Of Skulls. No matter how rock you dress, you suck mightily with your bland, nondescript corporation-sanctioned beard rock. If I was being generous I could make a comparison to The Raconteurs, but that would only upset His Whiteness, for even his third best band are still head and shoulders above this sludge.

So the main attraction are now firmly in Kings Of Leon territory, playing mega gigs to thousands of fans all over the UK. On another freezing night in London the band had everyone going gaga for the whole show. The trappings of success are clear for all to see – roadies in suits and Coldstream Guards jackets, video projections, even Patrick Carney’s drumkit has had an Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat makeover. The duo on this tour to promote possibly their best album yet, El Camino, have been augmented by a bass player and keyboards, and it has meant the rock in their blues-rock sound has come to the foreground. The band overcome this difficult venue (beautiful and historic yes, but not suited for gigs in my opinion) to inject a thrilling dose of all-important soul into their performance. The new organ sounds have especially transformed them, so much so that if you closed your eyes you could imagine it was a late ’60s West Coast garage band onstage. Kicking off with Brothers' cuts rocker ‘Howlin’ For You’ and ‘Next Girl’, they ran through 20 songs taken from all periods of their career. ‘Lonely Boy’ was astonishingly fierce and possibly their ’Seven Nation Army’.

The melodies appear sharper on the new stuff, as befits a band at that unenviable/inevitable "must write anthems" career stage. But they pull it off with aplomb, and I suspect these seemingly grounded gentlemen know nothing else. They wrapped up this tour in style tonight.

They should definitely keep the four-piece line-up thing happening. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more fun.

Phil Istine

Friday, 10 February 2012

News – Hush Arbors and Arbouretum

Hush Arbors and Arbouretum have each been exploring for years now the intersection of progressive folk and psychedelic rock, albeit filtered through their own distinct sounds.  It was only a matter of time before their paths would cross.  Keith Wood and Dave Heumann met at a show in Baltimore and discovered their mutual appreciation for each other's music. The two bands planned a joint European tour, and recorded Aureola to further showcase and celebrate their complimentary sounds.

Keith Wood (the man behind Hush Arbors), "has a poet's soul and a drifter's mentality.  Better than most, he understands the similarities between Ted Berrigan and The Byrds," says friend Matt Krefting.  "He's put the hours in playing with Six Organs of Admittance, Sunburned Hand of the Man, Current 93, and Thurston Moore, and is equally at home in the wilds of improvisation as he is with the vast possibilities of song form.  As adept as he is at playing with others, Hush Arbors is all his, and it's what he does best.  His records for Ecstatic Peace, Hush Arbors and Yankee Reality, demonstrate Keith's extraordinary capacity to mold songs of haunting beauty and sweetness, songs that make sense around the fireplace or on the open road.  These new songs continue that trajectory and intensify the emotional gravitas of his previous work. They are like a re-awaking, a groggy hello to a forgotten world, or a blissful hangover full of melancholy love and beautiful promise."

Dave Heumann's allegorical and metaphorical lyrics for Arbouretum ride gently atop his fuzzed-out guitar solos, pushing them ever higher into the stratosphere, and lending his songs an emotional weight uncommon in "heavy rock" music.  The band also continues to push forward, experimenting with improvisation to capture a more immediate feel that reflects their ever-changing live performances.  Arbouretum perfectly exemplify a band that exists in a dual state.  They are both loose and rhythmic, channeling the Velvet Underground's repetitive grooves, but also technically precise and expansive. Folk ballads and acid-guitar psychedelia in perfect harmony.  It's music that can be played on an acoustic guitar or pushed through a distortion pedal and a stack of amps. The new tracks on Aureola serve as both the next step in Arbouretum's evolution and a glimpse of what's to come on their next full-length due out  in the Fall of 2012.

"Keith's music suggests some strange place where John Philips, Merle Haggard, Charalambides and Federico Garcia Lorca all occupy the same neighborhood tavern. His songs are fluid and lucid and frequently dazzling, displaying a mastery of craft only gleaned from countless pie-eyed hours strumming along to records late at night and absorbing their individual magic. Hush Arbors is Keith's near-perfect distillation of all that magic." - James Jackson Toth (of Wooden Wand).

"Arbouretum have forged a new alloy of psychedelic heavy rock that captures the narrative power and sonic fury of electric Neil Young, the floral qualities of 1960s British psychedelia and the textural use of distortion at the foundation of drone and stoner rock.  More importantly though, Arbouretum manages to avoid the parochial trappings of any of those camps.  In other words, Arbouretum sounds like all of those things without the cliches.  Throw in Heumann's flair for putting a fresh twist on tried-and-true (read: tired) traditions, and Arbouretum arises out of the psychedelic swamp blazing with an almost shamanic power." - New York Press

Arbouretum // Hush Arbors // Luke Roberts

15/04/12 : Trix - Antwerpen (B) + Luke Roberts
16/04/12 : Hafenklang - Hamburg (D) + Luke Roberts
17/04/12 : Loppen - Copenhagen (DK) + Luke Roberts
18/04/12 : Hensriksberg - Gothenburg (S)  + Luke Roberts
19/04/12 : Atlas - Aarhus (DK) + Luke Roberts
20/04/12 : Steinbruch - Duisburg (D)  Luke Roberts
21/04/12 : Swamp - Freiburg (D) + Luke Roberts
22/04/12 : Club Manufaktur - Schorndorf (D) + Luke Roberts
23/04/12 : Sud - Basel (CH) (300 euro
24/04/12 : Ziegel Oh Lac/Rotefabrik - Zurich (CH) + luke Roberts
25/04/12 : Sidro Club - Savignano Sul Rubicone - Forli (I)  Luke Roberts
26/04/12 : Circolo degli Artisti - Rome (I)  + Luke Roberts
27/04/12 : Studio 2 - Vigonovo/Venice (I) + Luke Roberts
30/04/12 : La Péniche - Lille (F) + Luke Roberts
01/05/12 : The Green Door Store - Brighton (UK) + Hush Arbors
02/05/12 : Cargo - London (UK) + Hush Arbors/Luke Roberts
03/05/12 : The Fleece - Bristol (UK)  + Hush Arbors
04/05/12 : Kazimier - Liverpool (UK) + Hush Arbors
05/05/12 : Whelans - Dublin (EIR)+ Hush Arbors
06/05/12 : Crane Lane Theatre - Cork (EIR) + Hush Arbor

News – Are You Hopping Mad?

To mark the DVD release of Ripping Yarns The Complete Series, and as an homage to the episode 'Tomkinson's School Days', Network are looking to recruit members of the public to set Guinness World Records ™ for the largest group 400 metre hop as well as a 400 metre relay hop. This free event will take place at the Grade 1-listed Hampstead Heath Athletics track on Saturday 3 March 2012. Both Michael Palin and Terry Jones will be attending and presenting prizes to the overall winners - £500 to the charities of their choice.*People can apply to participate by visiting facebook.com/NetworkDVD.

THE RIPPING YARNS HOPATHON is inspired by the 30-Mile Hop at Graybridge School, motto: "Only in true misery can you find true contentment" which featured in the first ever episode of the cult comedy series 'Tomkinson's School Days'.  Thankfully Messieurs Palin and Jones have rejected the idea of pitting members of the public in the much -featured grizzly bear fight (still compulsory for some boys at Graybridge), or a St Tagder's Day ceremony (where students are nailed to the school walls). However, selected participants will be provided with Team Graybridge and Team St Anthony's t-shirts plus a commemorative certificate for their commendable sporting efforts.

To break The Guinness World Records™ as listed above, Network DVD requires at least 250 people to participate in the largest group hop and also needs to set a time of 7 minutes to achieve the fastest 400 metre hop on one leg.  Participants must be over 18 years of age and in sound physical health. Full details about registration are available at facebook.com/NetworkDVD by 'LIKING' the hop or accessing the facebook tab for existing people who 'like' Network DVD.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

TV– Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy | Lysergic Casserole | E4

After the wonderful Mighty Boosh it seemed to many that the flamboyant Noel Fielding may be happy coasting on his coat tails – Never Mind The Buzzcocks, chat shows, hanging with rock stars.... and err... Horrid Henry: The Movie. So it came as a nice surprise to see the diminishing talent return to fine form with his own new "psychedelic sketch show" Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy.

Granted, not everything is hilarious – and nor should it be, this is as much about stimulating the senses as it is tickling the funny bone. The whole thing hangs together seamlessly as Noel (as himself and a cast of surreal characters), his brother Michael, Tony Meetan, Rich Fulcher and Dolly Wells keep the crazy creation on course. Its premise (if explainable) is that Noel, his cleaner (Andy Warhol, who speaks like Data from Star Trek: The Next Generation), Smooth (a kind of elephant/ant eater man) and the seductive femme fatale Dolly live in a tree house together... which is the easy bit... whilst Noel's bizarre and often frightening characters (Ghost Of A Flea and Jelly Fox) trippily appear throughout in a connected/non-connected hallucinogenic manner.

Fielding's acting is faultless with the ’80s cop with talking scars Sergeant Ray Boombox and the PE teacher chocolate finger Roy Circles offering the viewer some brilliantly realised and written dialogue and characterisation.

As one would hope, the surreal animation, art and music (co-written by Kasabian's Sergio Pizzorno) prevent the piece from becoming just another "sketch show". In fact, the loose and almost plausible narrative behind the key players almost hold it together, giving the episodes the semblance of an actual situation rather than a series of non-linear sketches.

Fielding's beloved Georges Méliès collide with Jan Švankmajer's dreamlike creations, art is constantly referenced and there are regular nods to all of the weird forefathers – the ones people have never been able to decide whether funny or just mentally disturbed (The Goons, Python, Marty Feldman, Spike Milligan, Kenny Everett and Chris Morris's more recent Blue Juice). Finally, a liberal dose of that all knowing nod to the East London brigade's love of ironic post-modern pop culture never lets go. Combined together it bubbles away in a mesmerising stew.

Psychedelia is alive and kicking thanks to Channel Four!