Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Music - Part 208 - Jemima Surrender

Jemima Surrender – Ask Me Again
Out Now

Boy/Girl alternative fuzz/grunge duo release their debut EP. 

Jemima Surrender make the sort of music that creeps up behind you then punches you hard in the kidneys.  Ask Me Again is a collection of four songs of quite brilliant quality. 

Millie Phipps and Alan Eldridge create songs with a quite incredible sound.  Opener Anathema begins quietly enough, and comparisons to PJ Harvey are valid.  Soon enough the song explodes into what is obviously the Jemima Surrender style of ripping fuzzy grunge pop which excites every possible sinew in your body.  Once heard, Anathema is lodged in the darkest recesses of your mind, and trust me, it cannot escape.

The aggressive power is continued into tracks Reverse Long Close and My Brother, the latter of which has a unique vocal approach interwoven with some frenetic percussion.  For a duo, the resulting sounds are quite intense.

Named after a track on the eponymous album by The Band, Jemima Surrender have fine-tuned their sound before releasing their first collection of finished tracks, and it is that patience that has clearly paid off.  EP closer and contender for song title of the year, If You Sit In A Barbers Shop Long Enough You’re Gonna Get A F*ckin Haircut, slows the pace slightly but still contains the jangly Indie sound that will undoubtedly see them propelled onto higher heights.

Ask Me Again is a superb debut, and one that will hit you immediately right between the eyes.  They aren’t scared to make a racket (in fact they probably aren’t scared of anything) and it’s that slightly anarchic punkish approach that is so refreshing.  My advice?  Buy this EP and play it on permanent repeat until your ears bleed.  Then wait for the album.



Published on Louder Than War 24/04/14 - here

Friday, 25 April 2014

News - South African Government Presents Major Award To Jerry Dammers

On South African Freedom Day, Sunday April 27, 2014, the twentieth Anniversary of Democracy in South Africa, Jerry Dammers, the British musician, will be awarded National Honours, described by the South African Presidency as, “the highest awards that our country bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and who have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans”. Dammers will be awarded the prestigious ‘Order of the Companions of O.R.Tambo (in Silver)’ for “his excellent musical contribution to the international Free Mandela Campaign and his involvement in the influential Artists Against Apartheid”. 

Other non-South Africans who will receive awards that day include Lord Richard Attenborough, the maker of the films, ‘Gandhi’ and ‘Cry Freedom’, Quincy Jones, musician and producer for Michael Jackson, former  British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock and the Hollywood  actor Danny Glover.

Jerry Dammers comments, “I am very honoured indeed to be receiving this award, especially considering  the extreme sacrifices very many people in South Africa made in getting rid of Apartheid, compared to what I did, which was only what anyone would have tried to do in my position at the time. I am extremely thankful for this appreciation I am being shown now, and would like to thank all the artists who performed under the Artists Against Apartheid banner  both at Wembley Stadium , and in the concerts leading up to the Wembley concerts”.

News - Blondie Release New Album & Greatest Hits Package

The new Blondie two-disc package 'Blondie 4(0) Ever', including the brand-new album 'Ghosts Of Download' and a disc including re-recorded versions of their greatest hits ('Greatest Hits Deluxe Redux') will be released on May 12th.
The new collection will be released as a regular two-disc set, as well as a deluxe edition, including a DVD with a CBGB's live recording from 1977 and various extras, such as a 28 pages booklet, 5 photo prints, taken by Chris Stein and a 1979 concert poster.
Pre-order the album here.
Greatest Hits
1. Heart Of Glass
2. Dreaming
3. The Tide Is High
4. Maria
5. Sunday Girl
6. Hanging On The Telephone
7. Rapture
8. One Way Or Another
9. Call Me
10. Atomic
11. Rip Her To Shreds
Ghosts Of Download
1. Sugar On the Side (feat. Systema Solar)
2. Rave (feat. Miss Guy)
3. A Rose By Any Name (feat. Beth Ditto)
4. Winter
5. I Want to Drag You Around
6. I Screwed Up
7. Relax
8. Take Me In The Night
9. Make A Way
10. Mile High
11. Euphoria
12. Take It Back
13. Backroom +

DVD: Live at CBGB 1977
1. Kung Fu Girls
2. In The Sun
3. Little Girl Lies
4. Look Good In Blue
5. Man Overboard
6. A Shark In Jets Clothing
7. Rifle range
8. In The Flesh
9. X-Offender
10. Youth Nabbed As A Sniper
11. Rip Her To Shreds
12. Heart Full Of Soul
13. I Love Playing with fire
14. Palisades Park
15. Denis (rehearsal)

News - New Free Download From Cling

hiapop Blog is a long term plan of Suzi and Gerard (aka Cling) and are chuffed to hear of yet another of their tracks that is now available for free download.

Play the wonderful new track, Ripple On The Ocean below then trot along to Soundcloud to add the track to your music collection!

Cling website
Cling on Twitter
The End single review

News - The Skull Defekts Release New Video

Described as "one of the most inventive album you will ever hear" on this very Blog, Dances In The Dreams Of The Known Unknown was given a well deserved 10/10.

The Skull Defekts who were responsible for the incredible album have a released a new video to the (title) track The Known Unknown.

In the video for The Known Unknown, director/editor Joe DeNardo uses mixed imagery from American football, naval battle footage and a science tape exploring 'The Mind' to create the visuals to accompany the track. "I tried to play off the lyrics a bit to visually approximate an idea of TOTAL CONFUSION," says DeNardo, "though not without some playfulness..."

Turn up your speakers and prepare to be very impressed!


Read the album review here.

Music - Part 207 - No One Sun

No One Sun – All We Rely On Is Stolen
Out Now

Indie pop rockers, No One Sun release their new album.  

Dependent on your musical preferences, sounding like a cross between The Stereophonics and Manic Street Preachers can have its advantages, and if you sound like they did before they both went a bit rubbish it’s probably a bigger one too.  No One Sun have that sound, but to be fair, they also have an added twist in that their songs are probably better.

Hailing from Manchester and Gods own country, the North West, they bring a big sound of pop rock with choruses some stronger than others.  With a hint of American rock in their sound, and more than a passing resemblance to Kelly Jones at times, they glide effortlessly through eleven tracks which are well constructed and well played each time.  The production is also positive and brings everything to life.

Guitars soar, drums pound and the voices blend well together although the later could be slightly stronger.  Album opener, and highlight California perfectly shows off No One Sun at their best.  A catchy and punchy little number which, despite only hearing twice, I’ve had in my head all day.  Lyrically, they aren’t the best, rhyming ‘California’ with ‘warn ya’, but in terms of feel and passion they certainly have it in abundance.

They’re not all rock either, The Moment slows the pace for a while showing that they have a few things up their sleeves.  I Don’t Know What To Say To You and the title track are also worthy of mention as they breeze along with strong melodies, pumping bass and Indie guitar riffs aplenty with a mid-Atlantic tone.

With album closer Home they’ve clearly gone for the rousing anthem which may just be the perfect gig closer too.  No One Sun can write a song or two, and with a little fine tuning could easily slip into a few music collections along the way.



Published on Louder Than War 19/04/14 - here

Music - Part 206 - Alexander Tucker

Alexander Tucker – Alexander Tucker (Thrill Jockey)
19 April 2014

Experimental blues/folk singer-songwriter, Alexander Tucker re-releases his debut album.  

Previously released in 2005 on CDr only, Alexander Tucker’s debut album is set to be released on vinyl as part of Record Store Day.  Since its original release, Alexander has worked with some interesting luminaries including Fuck Buttons and Imbogodom, and is one half of Grumbling Fur who gave us 2013s marvellous Glynnaestra album.

His diseased mandolin and guitar playing are original to say the least, and his use of detuned guitars and tape loops provide interesting effects and backdrops which resonate and linger.  Once described as “the kind of fog you won’t mind getting lost in” Tucker thrives on conforming to be non-conformist.  There’s certainly no doubt that he is innovative and maybe even avant garde, but the point does come when one questions is it purely improvisation rather than pre-planned, and how far can it be listened to before it becomes absorbed in itself.

Kicking off with Multistoryhaiku the album is a breath of fresh air and as a debut it stinks of specialness.  For a Graduate straight out of four years of fine art  his project was a risk and a brave one at that for someone fed on a diet of 60s psychedelia and krautrock. 

Through the wonderfully titled Shirts Give Pleasure To Those Who Wear Them and The Black Bear, the chopped and re-assembled strings and voices are unique and appealing to anyone wanting to have their aural areas challenged.  It’s only halfway through the album that it seems to lose focus and drifts away into a little self-indulgent nothingness.

There’s little doubt that Tucker is a clever chap and a visionary too.  His ability to create something quite unheard of is something to behold, and the way each track is layered like some sort of musical tapestry is quite lovely.  It does eventually however, revert to tracks which seem to lose a little direction and veer off into the realms of free-form experimentalism.

Admittedly, he’s moved on in the last nine years, and his work has become more cohesive, but this reminder of how it all started is certainly worth listening to, to at least gauge where it all began.



Published on Louder Than War 19/04/14 - here

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Music - Part 204 - Man Forever (with So Percussion)

Man Forever (with So Percussion) – Ryonen (Thrill Jockey)
Out Now

Exploratory percussion project, Man Forever release a new album.  

This is a brave and interesting album if ever I heard one.  Two tracks, one per side, spanning thirty minutes in total.  It would appear from the outset to be a bit prog-something and possibly it is, but its prog-something of the good kind!

Track one, The Clear Realization opens with a thundering drum.  Take away the percussion and you’d probably be left  with a drone track of sorts.  Some almost choir sounding vocals join the fray for a while whilst the drums pound and pound and pound.  The voices are subtle but essential in breaking down the track with its two drum sets and two bongo sets, creating fascinating Burundi beats.

Man Forever, headed by Kid Millions (John Colpitts) whose work with other performers includes Spiritualized, Oneida and People Of The North, it is his collaboration with So Percussion that is particularly provoking.  Billed as the “premiere contemporary percussion ensemble” in America, So Percussion joined Colpitts to record a startlingly original piece of both interesting quality and hidden power.

Where the album comes into its own is when the instruments operate in a different time lapse to the main tempo, the end result is both powerful and innovative.  Ryonen spans side two at eighteen minutes and is less organised than its predecessor.  More anarchic and less structured, the drums hit each other and create their own resonance, listen closely and you can hear it under the main structure.

Make no mistake, Ryonen isn’t easy listening, in fact it can be particularly challenging at times, but it’s one of those albums that gives you something different.  It’s certainly early morning wake up material if nothing else and whilst the initial thought isn’t appealing, it is something that any discerning music fan should listen to at least once.

As the drums on Ryonen merge with more light vocals you can’t help but imagine a man drumming for his life on stage or in the studio.  It’s an original album and at times compelling to say the least.



Published on Louder Than War 13/04/14 - here

Music - Part 205 - Dub Spencer and Trance Hill

Dub Spencer and Trance Hill - William S Burroughs In Dub (Echo Beach)
Out Now

The four-piece live band from Switzerland blend the Beatnik poet and Post-Modernist author with electronic dub beats. 

William S Burroughs was considered to be "one of the most politically trenchant, culturally influential, and innovative artists of the 20th century".  The writer of 18 novels, which included The Naked Lunch, also 'appeared' on the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and has provided his voice to many recordings including tracks by John Cale, Kurt Cobain and The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy.  So, it is probably from those recordings that Dub Spencer and Trance Hill have concocted this new collection.

Deep reggae grooves and heavy basslines form the perfect accompaniment to Burroughs’ voice.  So perfect, and so beautifully blended.  In fact that you’d be forgiven for thinking that he actually recorded in the studio with the band.  The idea of sound bytes and clips over music isn’t new, and groups like the wonderful Public Service Broadcasting have encapsulated the theory wonderfully but, Dub Spencer and Trance Hill seem to really put their stamp on this sound.

Guitars are subtle, and additions of keyboards gliding to and fro make easy but interesting listening.  Opener Burroughs Called The Law is low-key and fascinating and sets the pace and style for the whole album.  Inviting you in as the dubbed out voice quotes and quips.  The tracks themselves would be entirely listenable as instrumentals but the voice adds a certain extra interest to the fifteen blistering tracks included. 

Not a seat-of-their-pants project either, the blessing of the Williams S Burroughs Foundation was obtained with whom they worked closely.  Not everything is of a reggae orientation either, there are dubbed out ambient pieces and even hints of Spaghetti Westerns tucked away for good measure.  An overall feel of psychedelic dub throughout making haunting yet magical compositions.

William S Burroughs In Dub is a triumph of modern day dub and stands shoulder to shoulder with today’s greats like Adrian Sherwood whose influence here is obvious.  It’s addictive, it’s ingenious and most of all it’s a great album.  Listen to it and be impressed.



Published on Louder Than War 19/04/14 - here

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Music - Part 203 - Mark Wynn

Mark Wynn – No Fun (Not That One)
Out Now

Solo singer-songwriter of anarchic guitar poetry, Mark Wynn releases his new album. 

Being a supporter of Burnley FC in the 80s and 90s always guaranteed several things.  Raised hopes, sporadic success, and crashing dreams the norm for everyone.  For me there was the addition of Oxo and meat & potato pies, being crushed on the terraces and someone pissing in your pocket (thankfully not mine!).  There was also the No Nay Never fanzine which was hugely anticipated with its (ir)regularly released issues.

Away from the stadium were other fanzines.  Fanzines about music, fanzines about College/University life, even fanzines about fanzines.  Sadly they died away.  It is therefore nice that cds from Mark Wynn should appear stapled neatly into his own fanzine (or is the fanzine attached to the cd?).

Hailing from the beautiful city of York, from which he is born and bred, Mark plays his one man catalogue with heart and soul.  Maybe sometimes recording his own voice and/or instruments before performing over them again to create a ‘bigger’ sound, Mark is a punk star in the making thirty-something years too late.  He would have nestled in amongst the ‘less serious’ punk brigades of the 70s quite easily.  That aside, there is still room for him to thrust his wit and whim upon us.


Essentially he’s a poet.  Like a John Cooper-Clarke if you will, or a storyteller, ironically like a Ray Davies.  Ironic, because one of the finest moments on No Fun (Not That One) is the hilarious Ray Davies Stole My Songs.  He’s obviously too young to even remember Ray and Dave, but it doesn’t stop him revelling in his anger of the brothers.  There’s even an excerpt of All Day And All Of The Night thrown in for good measure.

She Fancies Me That One In Age Concern is equally funny if not disheartening.  Why does he never find any bargains in charity shops, and does Claire really love him?  We’ll probably never know.

No Fun (Not That One) is crude and often in dire need of de-distorting, but it’s its sheer rawness that makes it appealing.  It won’t set the world on fire but it may just make you want to play with the matches a little.


Published on Louder Than War 11/04/14 - here

Music - Part 202 - Perc

Perc – The Power And The Glory Remixed (Perc Trax)
11 April 2014

DJ and techno producer, Perc releases an EP of remixes.  

February’s The Power and the Glory album was both innovative and enjoyable and here Perc hopes to repeat the critical acclaim he received with three remixes from the album.  Curiously, choosing not to remix himself, he employs the services of UK artists allowed to do whatever they wished with the tracks allowing full creative freedom.

Much of the experimentation of the album is taken away to give more industrial dance orientated tracks, with Tessela starting the proceedings.  His version of Take Your Body Off gives a heavy bass and big drum sounds.  Vocals scream and the track throbs along with added synth excerpts and alarms.

The Untold remix of Bleeding Colours stats immediately with a repetitive bass sound that continues through much of the track.  More bass lines are added to make a quite interesting effect and produce an experimental mix which could quite easily have been an outtake from the main album itself, and on first listen can be slightly forgettable.  Only on subsequent hearings does its inventiveness truly shine.

Ending with Dumpster remixed by Clouds the EP gets into a more organised groove.  Possibly the track of the EP, its deep sound is medium paced, and whilst hold an experimental edge, it focusses more on a regular groove than anything out of the ordinary.  Again, the freedom given to the remixers allows for effectively new versions of the previous mixes.

The Power and the Glory Remixed again demonstrates the forward thinking of Perc, and whilst not wholly responsible for the new versions, his choice and collaboration of who to use has to be applauded.  A true individual in today’s music scene.



Published on Louder Than War 11/04/14 - here

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I Like It - Martyn Bennett

'Grit' - the late Martyn Bennett's most extraordinary work and his final project - is a deeply emotional collection of traditional singers  - largely travellers - showcased via an inventive avalanche of sounds and beats, rooted in the past but glorying in modern dance culture. 
It's a risky and eccentric balance, but far from being swamped by the swathes of electronica, it's the amazing voices of the traditional singers, like Jeannie Robertson, her daughter Lizzie Higgins and the Gaelic singer Flora McNeil, that ultimately dominate the attention.
Originally released in 2003, this Real World Gold re-issue includes two bonus tracks: Martyn’s remix of Peter Gabriel's 'Sky Blue'; and 'Mackay's Memoirs', Martyn's last recorded work, completed the day after he lost his long and valiant battle to cancer at age 33.

News - Jack Cheshire Release Heavenly Bodies Single

Purveyor of last years fine Long Mind Hotel album, and sporter of the rather special hiapop badge, Jack Cheshire release his new single, Heavenly Bodies on 19 May.

'Heavenly Bodies' is an attempt to rise above the myriad mind games and poisonous frustrations of modern life. Become easy with it all, see things with wonder and awe again, dissolving back into an untainted self. Recorded on the first take, the song features several bowed overdubs on the double bass, at such a high register that it sounds more like a cello. 

The past six months or so have seen Jack go from strength to strength - playing a host of shows both with band and solo, becoming an ever growing favourite on 6 Music and XFM, and receiving great press praise.

More Jack Cheshire on hiapop Blog here.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Music - Part 201 - Rachael Dadd/ICHI

Rachael Dadd/ICHI – Make A Sentence/ Go Gagambo (Tokidoki Records)
14 April 2014

Married couple Rachael Dadd and ICHI release new singles and combine on one disc.  

I seem to remember this happening a few times in the 80s where two lesser known groups would each share a side on an AA single.  It’s a great idea, and this time it’s the turn of Rachael Dadd and husband ICHI. 

Six years ago, Rachael picked up her travelling bags and set off for a trip to Japan.  It was on this journey that she came across ICHI performing his unique brand of music at a DIY festival!  The rest, as they say, is history and completed by the birth of their Son, now one year old.

The lead track goes to Rachael.  Make A Sentence begins with a typewriter (we had those before laptops, kids) ably ‘played’ by her husband.  The track that then ensues is a lovely, flowing mix of differing percussion and sweet vocals harmonies.  It’s a song about communication and friendship and somewhat fitting that it should appear in tandem with the ‘other half’ (sic).  It has one of those melodies that just won’t let loose and is completely addictive, wistfully floating along.

The ICHI side is quite a turn in styles and seems to be picking up a lot of radio play being championed by Steve Lamacq on Radio 6.  It’s either complete genius or completely bonkers as the song (and video) starts with the sound of a mosquito-like insect called a gagambo.  It has an almost electronic post-punk vocal in a high pitched tone said to represent the voice of the insect.  An incredibly infectious bass line continually pumps along and a variety of interesting and unique sounds pitch in along the way.  Potentially a song that will be played all over the place and a mighty fine one at that.

A big ‘high five’ to the couple for a fine, fine release.



Published on Louder Than War 10/04/14 - here

News - The (The) Return Of Soul Mining!

THE THE are pleased to announce details of the release of the Soul Mining 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Boxset, a re-mastered, re-packed and expanded version of their major label debut album, Soul Mining, on Monday June 30th 2014 through Sony Music.

Re-mastered at Abbey Road Studios by Matt Johnson and packaged in a lavish 12” box, this vinyl only release includes an authentic reproduction of the 1983 release on 180g vinyl, plus an extra 12” gatefold vinyl of alternative versions and remixes.

The re-mastered audio has also been dubbed from original vinyl pressings recorded from Matt’s original 1982 Thorens TD-147 gramophone player using patent ‘Dubbed-From-Disc’ technology, obtainable via a download code contained within the boxset.

The boxset also includes a unique ‘news-poster’ containing extensive notes written by Johnson detailing the making of the album.

Featuring a host of talented musicians, including JG Thirwell (aka Foetus, Manorexia and Steroid Maximus), Zeke Manyika (Orange Juice), electronic DIY pioneer Thomas Leer and Jools Holland, Johnson set out with a clear vision in mind – to produce an album that felt cinematic; a record of width, depth and texture and one which avoided the mundane line-up of the day of two guitars, bass and drums.

The track listings of the two albums are as follows:


1. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All Of My Life)
2. This Is The Day
3. The Sinking Feeling
4. Uncertain Smile
5. The Twilight Hour
6. Soul Mining
7. Giant


1. Uncertain Smile (New York 12” version)
2. Perfect (New York 12” version)
3. This Is The Day (12” version)
4. Fruit Of The Heart
5. Perfect (London 12” version)
6. I’ve Been Waitin’ For Tomorrow (All My Life) (12” mix)

THE THE also recently announced details of a limited edition 12” vinyl release on Sony Music for this year’s Record Store Day on Saturday 19th April 2014. It will be available at participating record shops globally.

GIANT2FACED12 INCH is a double A-sided release featuring THE THE’s Giant (from the 1983 album Soul Mining) and DJ Food’s 2011 remix of the track, which was previously available on his album The Search Engine.

The sleeve features a ‘2 faced’ double cover to mirror the audio content – THE THE’s Andy Dog artwork features on one side, and DJ Food’s illustrative interpretation of the artwork on the other, and a top opening makes this sleeve entirely non-preferential. This record fits snugly inside theSoul Mining 30th Anniversary Deluxe Edition Boxset to complete the collection.    

This Record Store Day release marks the beginning of a new exploration of THE THE’s timeless catalogue.