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Cool Ghouls

At George's Zoo

    Cool Ghouls - a band fledged in San Francisco on house shows, minimum wage jobs, BBQ's in Golden Gate Park and the romance of a city’s psychedelic history turns 10 this year. What better a decennial celebration than the release of their fourth album, At George's Zoo!

    How did San Francisco's fab four arrive at George's Zoo? The teenage friendship of complimentary spirits Pat McDonald (Guitar/Vox) and Pat Thomas (Bass/Vox) serves as square one. The Patricks were munching on Eggo-waffle-sandwiches and downing warm vokda in suburban Benicia (San Francisco bay) years before McDonald would hear George Clinton address his fans as "Cool Ghouls". The boys played their debut gig as Cool Ghouls at San Francisco's legendary The Stud in 2011, but there's no doubt the musical moment cementing the band's trajectory was much earlier at the 18th birthday party for boy-wonder Ryan Wong (Guitar/Vox) - at the Wong household.

    You might remember the Ghouls' earliest days... McDonald’s hair hung luxuriously past his waist, Thomas dreamt of no longer having to crash on friends' couches to call SF home and Wong looked forward to turning 21. Cool Ghouls' Pete Best, Cody Voorhees, thrashed wildly – but briefly - on the drums and Alex Fleshman (Drums), who still claims he's not really "a drummer", turned out to be a really good drummer. Thomas would sleep pee on tour. Those were golden days!

    Flash forward to today and everything is up in flames. No shows, parties or bars. Cool people are streaming out of SF. It's been 2 years since the last time Cool Ghouls have even played. The STUD is gone, The Eagle Tavern is for sale and The Hemlock has been demolished for condos. Your boss is an app. Fascism is no-knocking down the door. There's a pandemic.

    Fortunately for us, the Ghouls got an album in before it all went to shit, and they made it count. At George's Zoo includes 15 of the 27 tunes they managed to eke out while simultaneously working through major life moves. It was a 5-month, all out, final sprint down the homestretch (to Ryan's moving day) with affable engineer Robby Joseph, at his makeshift garage studio in the Outer Sunset (pictured on the cover). Instead of recording the entire album over a few consecutive days - like they'd done with Tim Cohen, Sonny Smith and Kelley Stoltz for the first three LPs - the band took it slow by working through a few songs each weekend after rehearsing them the week before. Robby would cue up the tape, McDonald would throw some steaks on the grill and they'd get to work - much to the neighbor, George's, chagrin.

    These guys have a real commitment to elevating as songwriters, musicians and ensemble players. It's always been for the music with Cool Ghouls and this long-awaited self-produced outing is a track by track display of the ground they've covered and heights they can achieve. Their vocals and trademark harmonies are front and center and out-of-control-good. Ryan's guitar solos are incredible. The horns by Danny Brown (sax) and Andrew Stephens (trumpet) hit in all the right places. Maestro, Henry Baker (Pat Thomas Band / Tino Drima), plays keys throughout. There's even a mesmerizing string section ("Land Song") by sonic polyglot, Dylan Edrich.

    None of this growth is to the detriment of the fun, natural, feeling that fans have come to expect from the band. This is a fully realized Cool Ghouls album. It paints a remarkable portrait of SF's homegrown heroes and the many corners they've explored over the last decade. The songwriting, harmony and playing are nothing if not solid. The lyrics are keen. Robby's recording and mixing sound great start to finish and even better after mastering by Mikey Young. It's a triumphant addition to their catalogue. Recommended for Stooges and Beach Boys fans alike. Listen and see!

    Yes, many things have changed since 2011. Who knows what the 20's will have in store for life on Earth, let alone the Cool Ghouls? We at least know that 2021 has At George's Zoo for us, a beautiful keepsake from the Before Times when we used to stand in living rooms together while bands played.


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Coloured LP Info: Transparent red vinyl.
    Limited to 300 copies for Europe.

    Coloured LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    The Cool Greenhouse

    Alexa! / The End Of The World

      Alexa! Is the Cool Greenhouse’s new single, the follow-up to their acclaimed debut album and, indisputably, the most powerful song ever made. Alexa! can phone your mum. Alexa! can set your alarm for ungodly hours. Alexa! is the first song in history capable of racking up its own streams and ordering copies of itself. Simultaneously a modern love song dedicated to the 14% of men who have found themselves aroused by their virtual assistants during lockdown and a characteristically sardonic investigation into the sly corporate invasion of domestic space, Alexa! is, above all, a stonker of a tune that further solidifies The Cool Greenhouse’s position as one of the most exciting and innovative bands around. Of their historic single, the band had this to say:

      “Don’t worry we don’t need any press for this one just stick a bunch of virtual assistants in a room and get one of them to play the track it should be able to get to number one on its own eventually, cheers.”


      FORMAT INFORMATION

      Ltd 7" Info: Eco- Mix Random Colour 7” Vinyl.
      Royal Blue Art Print Inside.
      Spined Reverse Board Outer Sleeve.
      Comes With Download Code.

      The Cool Greenhouse

      The Cool Greenhouse

        Those in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, but The Cool Greenhouse are about to shatter glass ceilings with their self-titled debut LP.

        “I wanted to hear repetitive music that wasn’t pretentious” tells the band’s voice Tom Greenhouse of his personal agenda to inject some pop sentimentality into the rock’n’roll textbook. “The mission was to make long, repetitive pop music that wasn’t boring. I soon realised I could do that through focusing on the lyrics.”

        With phrases culled from the pages of his many notebooks, Greenhouse has a way with words. Exploring Rotary Club jumble sales and mausoleums or making futuristic voyages into musical VR, his songs dig at the gammon classes and scoff at the stupidity of society alongside pop punches about female harassment. Inspired by conversations and magazine articles he narrates upon the world as he sees it, preferring wise-cracks and judgement to merely passing comment. “At school I wrote a story about a whale that fell in love with a submarine and tried to have sex with it which almost caused a serious nuclear meltdown; it won a prize. As a teenager I thought I was Arthur Rimbaud so moved to Paris and wrote terrible poetry.”

        Down and out in Paris and later, in London, Tom got skint fast so headed to the sticks of Norwich. Sitting in his garden, inspired to turn scripture into song and record it on a friend’s tape recorder, he began penning the album between writing clickbait articles to get by and turned to humour to express his deeper thoughts; “A lot of punk is on the nose like “fuck the Tories” but I’m not that hardcore. Humour is good for talking about serious things without getting too sentimental.”

        Encouraged by The Shadow Ring’s Graham Lambkin (“I wrote to him asking whether it was worth the bother. He sent a really nice reply. He probably doesn’t remember, but it spurred me on.”), Tom took to the live circuit, but his solo backing track performances needed a fuller sound. Ahead of securing a show with The Stroppies, he turned to the talent of guitarist Tom O Driscoll, bassist Thom Mason, drummer and percussionist Kevin Barthelemy and Merlin Nova on keys and synths, harmonium, melodica, violin and backing vocals. “We practiced the songs and played that first show; we did a good job and Melodic signed us! Those guys are crazy,” Tom says. Perhaps not; also championed by DIY it could be a sign of things to come as the band prepare for their Great Escape debut.

        Discovering The Cool Greenhouse’s first 7” (which coincidentally mentioned his own surname) ace producer, sound engineer and mixer Phil Booth (Sleaford Mods, Jake Bugg) invited the group to his JT Soar studio in Nottingham. The old potato-packing warehouse offered an idiosyncratic working method for the band, who recorded the album over 7 days as live between kipping on its couches, 4am whiskey-soaked sessions and Mario Kart ’64 on demand. “Phil’s got all the kit and know-how, but the studio is rough around the edges with great character,” Tom tells. “There were weird little synchronistic miracles… discussing a song then seeing its title on a shop window, finding things in pubs straight out of our songs… these zapped me onto some sort of Jungian plane where I didn’t need sleep and knew just what to do.”

        Blissfully instinctive, Tom’s lexicon flies across the album with the agitation of an internal monologue that won’t quit. From pop culture to cautionary tales, anything deemed too musically extravagant was swiftly removed before being mastered by Mikey Young (Bodega, Amyl and the Sniffers); “we added a tympani and clarinet but ended up taking it all off again” At times the Truman Show-trappings of ‘Trojan Horse’ or ‘Gum’s unsettling cowbell hint at the motoric. For now, whatever it is that gets you going, let’s just call it The Cool Greenhouse effect.


        FORMAT INFORMATION

        Dinked Edition LP Info: • Exclusive Dinked ‘Ultra Clear’ colour vinyl.
        • Exclusive signed and numbered postcard.
        • Exclusive Dinked Colour OBI strip.
        • Includes download code containing two bonus tracks exclusive to Dinked.
        • Reverse Board Outer Sleeve.
        • Matt Black Inner Sleeve W/ Centre Holes.
        • Matt Art Paper Two Sided Insert.

        If you want to know the secret to happiness, look no further than transcendental psychedelic pop outfit Glass Vaults. The New Zealand via Berlin band led by Richard Larsen, Rowan Pierce and Carpark Record’s signee Bevan Smith, create a unique concoction of joyously uplifting pleasure in their sonic laboratory and The New Happy is the result – an exploration of the euphoric sensations associated with Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR).

        Glass Vaults' sophomore LP was recorded and mixed to seduce. ASMR, otherwise known as a “brain orgasm,” is an aurally triggered euphoric experience characterised by a tingling in the scalp which travels down the neck and spine and The New Happy was specifically mixed to elicit an ASMR effect. “We focused on retaining short high frequency transients and worked on modulating and panning certain sounds to induce goose bumps and shivers when listened through headphones,” Smith explains of the record’s atmospheric ambiance. “It looks not to emulate a sexual high, but a deeper, euphoric wave, that washes over the body in feelings of comfort and security… a new kind of happy.”

        “We have always considered Glass Vaults to be an extension of our larger artistic interests and process,” Richard reveals. “One thing which has never changed is our goal of creating music that fully immerses those who experience it. We’re creating worlds and stories to fully transcend the audience.”

        Whether it’s capturing the feelings brought about by recollections of the pair’s pre-teen days chatting with friends on MSN and downloading music from Napster (‘Savant’) sitting on Manhattan rooftops (‘Brooklyn’) or watching the sun rise after a long cold winter (‘The New Happy’), each song is a shot of serotonin to the synapses. Speaking of the title-track Larsen says; “I was interested in creating the feeling of the classic New Zealand summer. When I listen to this song I imagine a Fruju iceblock advert shown there in the 90s. Young beautiful people jumping off a boat, eating ice blocks and singing “Ooh Aah!”

        Not stopping at physical pleasure, The New Happy’s absorbing soundscapes delve deeper into the unconscious by exploring nostalgia and dreams; ‘Rewind’ was inspired by a dream of hitting rewind on life whilst ‘Mind Reader’ refers to the way dreams linger, well into waking hours.

        The New Happy sees the band peeling away at a once hazy veneer to reveal vibrant and colourful majestic pop moments crafted with precision and clarity. “The New Happy is a sonic departure for us… where once we would have relied on large crystalline reverbs, this record takes cues from intimate spaces, percussive rhythm and groove to elicit a different kind of transcendence.” Glass Vaults’ unique brand of dreamy psychedelic pop has wowed capacity crowds everywhere from drained swimming pools and humid forests, to New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S.A.


        L. Pierre

        1948 -

          THE ALBUM IS SOLD NAKED, WITHOUT ANY SLEEVE WHATSOEVER.
          180G VINYL.
          THE LAST EVER ALBUM FROM L. PIERRE
          NO DIGITAL DOWNLOAD CARD / NO DIGITAL DISTRIBUTON OF THE MUSIC AT ALL.

          In late 2016 L.Pierre (aka Aidan Moffat) posted Melodic this letter below along with a dublate of the his new album '1948 - '

          David Cooper
          c/o Melodic


          Hi Dave,

          Surprise! This is a new – and final – L. Pierre album, which I’m hoping you and the Melodic team would like to release. Rather than send you MP3s and emails and all those ones and zeroes, I thought it best to post you a dubplate in exactly the way I’d like to see it released. There’s some background to this one, so here you go …

          You’ll notice that the record labels state that all the samples I’ve used are from Nathan Milstein’s version of a Mendelssohn concerto – this is what was on the very first 33 1/3rpm long-playing 12” record in 1948. (There was a 33 1/3rpm 10” by Frank Sinatra first, but that was technically a compilation; Milstein’s was the first proper 12” album as we came to know it.) These samples from the original 1948 release were all ripped from YouTube, the biggest free music streaming platform in the world.

          I want to release the album as you have it right now: a vinyl-only LP, no digital whatsoever – indeed, upon the release date, I want to delete all the digital source files and any online promo streams we might do (we’ll have to advertise it in some way, of course). And on top of that, I want to release it with no sleeve. There are a few ideas here. Firstly, I don’t want a pristine, digital document that could last forever; I want the music left to the elements, I want it to live and scar, with each record’s acquired crackles, pops and scratches making them unique and identifiable to their owners. And while the natural thing to do with a naked record is protect it, I think it could be interesting to see how folk respond when we hand that responsibility over. Also, the sleeveless LP will look like one of those dusty, vulnerable strays you find in charity shops, which is precisely where L. Pierre began.

          Another thing I’d like to do is have a locked groove at the end, adding another wee element of interaction – the album won’t stop until the listener decides it should (which also works as an analogy for the resilience of vinyl in our digital age). And because the death of the album is proclaimed every few months these days, I wanted it to sound like a sort of ironic requiem. The title’s an unfinished tombstone with no date of death: “1948 – .”.

          If we do this, it will absolutely, definitely be the last ever record from L. Pierre (there’s that requiem echo again). The End.

          Anyway, hope you like it, and I do realise that a vinyl-only, self-destructive dialogue on the value of music and its new platforms, culture’s cyclical nature, the supposed death of the album – and the seeming immortality and inherent nostalgia of vinyl – doesn’t sound like the most lucrative of ventures, but I hope it’s an idea that a few folk might connect with. And I think it sounds quite lovely too!

          Cheers,
          Aidan



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