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Michael Head And The Strands

The Magical World Of The Strands

2015 is a busy year for Michael Head:

His second record as ‘Michael Head and the Red Elastic Band’ has just been released on his own label, Violette - ‘Velvets in the Dark’ 7 inch single. Shack’s 1990 single ‘I Know You Well’ opens ‘Perfect Motion’, Jon Savage’s 2LP compilation as “a musical return-trip to these fondly remembered years spanning 1988-93”.

Plus, Megaphone is set to reissue ‘The Magical World of The Strands’ in its original form, with the addition of a 20-page booklet, including new liner notes by Michael Head himself and photographs testifying to the album’s sleeve work-in-progress.

The CD version will come with 2 bonus tracks – the B-Sides to the 1998 NME and Melody Maker Single Of The Week ‘Somethin’ Like You’. ‘Green Velvet Jacket’ is an acoustic solo piece by Michael Head. And Queen Matilda (demo) was recorded in early 1993 and produced by the band’s friend and live engineer Ian Eastwood on a 4-track Tascam cassette recorder.

Alongside this reissue comes ‘The Olde World’, an exclusive new album of recordings from the same sessions.

Last but not least, Michael plans his first gigs as ‘Michael Head & The Strands’ promising to play his classic album ‘The Magical World of The Strands’ in full.

After a couple of demos for the French promoter who paired him with his childhood hero Love’s Arthur Lee in 1992, Pale Fountains and Shack legend Michael Head entered a Liverpool recording studio the following year, with a new project in mind, ‘The Strands’. Michael teamed up with his brother and lifelong companion, John, his long-time drummer Iain Templeton and two new recruits, Michelle Brown on bass and Les Roberts on flute. The recording sessions would last two years and were only halted because Michael was offered a new major label deal. A deal, not for his current work, but for him to record as Shack again.

So it came to be that Stephane Bismuth, the French promoter, was left with 100 or so minutes of a thwarted project, only a third of which had made it to the mixing studio in Sheffield in the summer of ‘95.

Patch-working and weaving rough mixes and sketches – by engineer Steve Powell, made in Liverpool – with completed mixes by producer Mark Coyle who had hired an arranger and string section for sessions in Sheffield, Stephane Bismuth founded a new label Megaphone and finally released ‘The Magical World of The Strands’, in autumn of 1997.

This work-in-progress comprising sketches, rough mixes and fully orchestrated tracks, garnered great critical acclaim and is still rated by many as the "rarest jewel of the 90s", Q Magazine.

About “The magical world of the strands” :

“AS THE MAGICAL WORLD SO CONCLUSIVELY PROVES HE DESERVES THE WORLD” (9/10 NME 1997)
“THE RAREST JEWEL OF THE 90S” (Q 2014)
NME :`LIKE NICK DRAKE STRUMMING ALONG WITH THE STONE ROSES."
- **** GUARDIAN: "ONE OF THE FURTHEST REACHING ENGLISH GUITAR RECORDS THIS DECADE."
- **** Q: "INCREDIBLY AFFECTING, A STAGGERING ALBUM.
- **** UNCUT: "Regarded by many as the equal of the STONE ROSES debut."
- **** THE TIMES : ’BIGGER THAN A LEGEND '.


Julien Lecube' Barbagallo was born to Sicilian immigrant parents in the pastoral landscape of Tarn in France's South-West, where he still lives. His first EP "My Bungalow" marked the beginning of his solo project, Lecube and lent him mythical status via the only French magazine which got hold of it, Magic (French equivalent of Mojo). With a simple 8-track machine and a few intimate songs, he began telling the stories he held close to his chest, a fragile combination of glances and breathes, collected randomly on local buses and unmade beds. In the spring of 2004 he began to record new material, on his friend Benjamin's staircase, a collection of songs which were to become "From Here To Now", stories where women he'd love to love meet men he'd love to be, and vice versa. These recordings remained on the stairs until Julien played a local party where he met Stephane Bismuth, Megaphone Music (The Strands, Angil, Karen Dalton), who convinced him to release his new songs initially as a series of 7". Those tracks drew comparisons to amongst others, The Monochrome Set, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bob Dylan, Syd Barrett, The Byrds, Elliott Smith and Howe Gelb.


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