MAGIC MIX

folk . americana . blues . r&b . rock&roll

WEEK STARTING 6 Jul

Genre pick of the week Cover of Work It Out by Lucy Rose.
As former live and session vocalist for Bombay Bicycle Club, Lucy released her critically acclaimed debut album "Like I Used To" in 2012. The new album is much more assured, with a confident nod to a more pop sound, whilst retaining her innocent acoustic folk/rock feel.

FORMAT INFORMATION

LP Info: 180 gram vinyl.

Ltd CD Info: Deluxe edition includes 5 bonus tracks.

Live at Biko was recorded during an April 2014 gig in Milan, Italy.The release features more than half of the songs on Benji plus other favorites like Admiral Fell Promises’ "Ålesund" and a trio of tracks from Perils from the Sea, Kozelek’s collaboration with The Album Leaf 's Jimmy Lavalle.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLtd LP Info: Limited edition double vinyl.

The Sovereign Self - named after a line from Dennis Potter, the late television auteur - is the fifth album from Glasgow's Trembling Bells, their first since 2012's The Marble Downs, a collaboration with Will Oldham. It is a driving, dramatic and at times hallucinatory work, filled with a great sense of tension and release; a witches' brew, a psychedelic stew mixing up the range of the band's musical interests - everything from ramshackled ballads to ancient May Day chants, swaggering acid rock to swirling prog epics.

"Some songs are a little challenging" says lead vocalist Lavinia Blackwall, "Bringing Alasdair C Mitchell into the band means we have the interplay of two guitar parts. Musically, this album has been a lot more collaborative and democratic and as a result a lot of our other influences have come through - psychedelia, early-70s prog and rock. It's heavier and darker. I find it physically and emotionally draining to sing these songs, because they are quite intense you have to put so much into them."

The range of cultural and counter-cultural interest from the band is apparent on the front cover of The Sovereign Self - a series of twenty portraits painted by Lavinia Blackwall: an eclectic gallery of genius from Emily Dickinson to Aeschylus; Lou Reed to Ovid.

Another key influence, psych-folk pioneers the Incredible String Band, has loomed large in the lives of Trembling Bells in recent years. They have toured with ISB co-founder Mike Heron, performing tracks from his songbook.

Having released five cracking LPs in six years, in addition to a number of side-projects, Trembling Bells show no signs of slowing down. Already, work is being done on solo records from three members, and there are plans for an album of reworked traditional folk songs with vocals from comedian Stewart Lee. This is quite simply a group of people with music pouring out of them.

Firecracker are having a busy year indeed. 15 releases in their 10 year history and this is their third release in 2015 so far - and we're only half way through the year! Anyway we've all been eagerly anticipating this one in the shop and over the counter, Jason Boardman (Afionado) I'm talking about you! This compilation sees the monolithic label move away from their house roots and into the world of indigenous Scottish music. So we get some folk, plenty of ambience, bag-pipes, spoken word and many other sounds and styles. Not only is this compelling enough, but the whole project was commission by the Forestry Commission Scotland - who approached Firecracker themselves.

Anyway, I should let the label get in their side of the story: 'Over 10,000 years ago, after the last Ice Age, humans began to explore and settle the place now known as Scotland. Evidence of our ancestors can be found in the various rock carvings, standing stones, tombs and dwellings still scattered throughout the lands today. Modern archaeological techniques can offer ever more detailed suggestions as to what these monuments might have meant, but it is still largely left to our imaginations to discern just what these spaces were used for. In this spirit, Firecracker Recordings were approached by Forestry Commission Scotland to make something that might capture the feel of these places. They assembled a crack squad of artists (Lord Of The Isles, Other Lands, House Of Traps, Wounded Knee) whom they felt would embrace the challenge, thanks to their shared interest in their own Highland ancestries. Visiting a handful of sites in an intense period of exploration late in 2014, they took field recordings, drank whisky, jammed in the ruins of brochs, studied rock art, sat in iron age forts, drank whisky, drove for many miles and generally began the process of channeling the shamanic forces (drank whisky) whose presence can still be felt all around. This album is the result of that brief adventure. The artists worked both together and in isolation, quickly and effortlessly, manipulating the recordings taken from the source and combining them with their own compositions, inspired by both the sights they saw in this time and those they have imagined from another. Here, they merge modern technologies with traditional instruments and the human voice to conjure up these ancient rites of celebration, ritual, offerings to long forgotten gods, changes in the features of the earth and the universe and the cycles of time. Accompanying the music is a booklet of archaeological images created by Forestry Commission Scotland, detailing some of the sites around which the music is based, again utilizing modern laser scanning technology to see these mysterious relics in a different light.'

So folks, if you've read the above and need any more convincing, then get submersed in one of the most inventive yet organic compilations to have ever been conceived. On one of Piccadilly Record's favourite long term underground labels. Firecracker, as always, we salute you!

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: A true artistic sentiment, the booklet alone is interesting enough - with laser-scan image survey's of some of Scotland's wildest places. Then the music, inspired by these mythical places, is equally good to boot. Beautifully conceived and executed.

FORMAT INFORMATION

2xLtd LP Info: Limited to 300 copies only. Screen print and sleeve design by House Of Traps. Bonus full colour booklet detailing laser scan techniques and ongoing archeological work by Forestry Commission Scotland


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