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OUTRE DISQUE

All formats come with a free Piccadilly Records EOY Sampler CD whilst stocks last.

As is my taste for the tardy, I was a couple of weeks late to this particular party, belatedly tipped to “that goth disco LP” through an overheard conversation between Mine and Matt. As a first class graduate of the “indie dance” era, I was naturally intrigued and promptly took the plunge into this monochrome masterpiece.

While her Sink Ya Teeth project with Maria Uzor takes a bite out of the Big Apple’s no-wave and post-punk era, Cullingford’s solo-debut splits its time between the steely synth-pop of Sheffield, Chicago’s house heritage and the unapologetic electroclash of Millennial Berlin. This travelogue translates to a sleek set of taut techno pop, topped with zero-fucks speak singing and utterly arch asides. A lesser LP would sink under the stature of single “Wide Boys”, a fleet-footed and flute-led floor burner, but Let Me Speak is made from only the finest ingredients – pass the biscuits please.

STAFF COMMENTS

Barry says: While Sink Ya Teeth definitely took influence from the dancefloor, it's Cullingford's solo output that really pays homage to the sweaty peak of industrial and techno clubgoing with it's own particular brand of momentous rhythm and rich, chest shaking bass hits. Wildly immersive and wonderfully satisfying,

TRACK LISTING

Side A
1 The Lizard
2 Sight For Sore Eyes
3 Wide Boys
4 Racer
5 Let Me Speak

Side B
6 Queen Bee
7 Chase The Beat
8 I Like You
9 Ode To Billy Joe
10 Fatal Embrace

Gemma Cullingford (Sink Ya Teeth)

Wide Boys

    Raised on a diet of Throbbing Gristle, Depeche Mode, New Order, Fad Gadget and A Certain Ratio, Gemma Cullingford's own trajectory has been equally impressive – from playing bass with Blast First/Mute signings Kaito, and more recently as one half of post-punk electronic dance duo Sink Ya Teeth. This solo offering further adds to her fine body of work.

    2020 saw Sink Ya Teeth having to abandon many live gigs and promotion for their second album, so during the band's downtime Gemma worked purposefully in her home studio on solo works of a more personal nature, the first fruits being this double A sided single. An album entitled "Let Me Speak" will follow in the summer of 2021.

    "Wide Boys" is a menacing disco call to action; "It's a message to the average man and woman on the street, many of whom seems to have been brainwashed by both those in power and by the far right. It's saying that every single one of us are being controlled as part of a big, sinister game. This is a response to my own awakening to that" she explains.

    "104" is an instrumental electronic jam for feet, limbs and loose minds. "The idea behind 104 came from wanting to start off with real sounding drums that subtly evolve into pure electro over 3 or 4 minutes".

    Yes Grasshopper

    N.O.W.H.E.R.E.

      Enter Yes Grasshopper, taking you on a trip into the unexplored depths of their collective mind, a place of daring rescue missions and uncanny swamp monsters, all imagined through the lens of a playful B-movie aesthetic.

      Emerging from England's unforgiving northern coast, this dynamic duo present a wholly unique take on noise rock, with crushing riffs, white water rhythmic twists and barking intertwined vocals making way for heinously catchy hooks you'll find yourself whistling at the most unexpected of times. And with the lyrics spinning esoteric tales over such a compelling foundation, Yes Grasshopper won't let your undivided attention slip for a single second.

      Their universe is one where both rage and joy jostle side-by-side, one moment buzzing with all the fury of a swarm of pissed-off hornets/mozzies, the next inviting the whole lot round for an unforgettable afterparty. Call it metal. Call it punk. Hell, call it hardcore-acid-math-crustcore if you want. What's so striking is that it doesn't deal in the usual palette of oppressive blacks and greys those genres invariably paint with, instead imagining a more kaleidoscopic and perhaps even welcoming landscape. And despite the heavy-as-heavy-can-be riffery and hammer-blow grooves, there is somehow an air of levity permeating the whole thing.

      Giving the likes of Hella, Lightning Bolt and John (times two) a run for their money in the 'how much noise can two people make?' stakes, the respective halves of this newly established duo have been nourished on a diet of music's more extreme offerings, with the mischievous demons within intent on shredding hard. Live shows consist of the slicing of mustard and people losing their socks.

      Bess Of Bedlam

      Folly Tales

        A resident of Lyon, Fanny L'Heritier is Bess of Bedlam. She is also the lead singer of the French experimental pop band Odessey & Oracle. Her arrangements employ a variety of instruments (classical and electromechanical pianos, 70's analogue synthesizers, acoustic & electric guitars, banjo & dobro) with charm, whimsy and humour.

        Bess Of Bedlam is Inspired by Purcell's vision and more recent English folk voices such as Shirley Collins, Linda Perhacs and Vashti Bunyan, with a 60's psychedelic pop sensibility from the likes of The Free Design, The United States of America and Sagittarius flavouring her sound. Bess's debut solo album was released last May. Shindig! magazine describing it as evoking both "Joanna Newsom or a pastoral Broadcast filtered through a fairy-tale lens".

        The Shining Levels

        The Gallows Pole

          "Resonating with the raw currents of nature, notes of hot human emotion and wild surges of power and defiance which underpin the narrative...This music takes on the textures of hardship and hope, the human continuance and determination to strive in the countryside, to come to some kind of understanding with nature." - Louder Than War.

          The Shining Levels are a new music collective based in Northumberland and Durham. Written and recorded on the edge of the northern English moors and using rural folk musicians, loops and electronics, the record is a heady brew of gritty landscape hymns, ethereal acid-folk, borderlands ballads, 70s folk horror TV/film atmospherics, mood pieces, echoes of the colliery bands of old, moor-top drones and much, much more. Music inspired by the novel The Gallows Pole sees The Shining Levels tread similar topographical terrain to The Unthanks, and shares DNA with such disparate musical ancestors such as Pentangle, Sandy Denny, Bridget St. John and Tom Waits, though is its own beast entirely. A combined love of ambient music, hip-hop production and musical obscurities from far-flung countries meanwhile ensure this is a folk record in a very real - and very modern - sense.

          Inspired by the real life events of 18th century Yorkshire criminal gang the Cragg Vale Coiners who operate in the Upper Calder Valley in the Pennines, the album's source material, The Gallows Pole by author Benjamin Myers, has rapidly become a modern cult classic. It is the first novel to be signed to Jack White's Third Man Books, and will be published in the US/Canada in November 2019. It has also been optioned for film adaptation.

          Drawing on a shared childhood and background with the author, The Shining Levels' music explores themes from the book: an England divided, the potency and mystery of remote rural landscapes, industrial progress, the changing seasons, shifting fortunes, self-delusion and self-aggrandisement, poverty vs wealth, societal power structures - and strange visions of mythical creatures.

          "We had a shared playlist which included lots of folk music," explains Davey J.of the influences on the band. "I also looked into pagan music too, which really leads you down the rabbit hole. But I also become obsessed with the app Radiooooo which lets you tap anywhere on a map of the world and select any decade from when recorded music began, so you can instantly flick from Madagascan 70's Jazz to Kazakhstani lounge music. At the same time I discovered all this great ambient / atmospheric / instrumental music that was perfect to work to: William Basinski, Grouper, A Winged Victory For The Sullen and more. These became very important for the mood and the very visual soundscapes, and definitely shaped the way we were writing."

          "I've always enjoyed hip-hop productions which sample, loop or collaborate with jazz musicians as it feels a very natural blend of contemporary life and technologies with music of great historical and emotional gravitas," says Dan Coggins. ""I was probably listening as much to RZA or Nigerian Funk as I was Nick Drake when we were writing it. The thought was to do a similar thing here: essentially reflecting on our own cultural environment as a means to illustrate a book which, while being set in a rural past, has a very modern voice and tone."

          The album was recorded further up the stony Pennine spine from the novel's setting, in a variety of shifting locations: a rented attic conversion on the outskirts of Durham, a similar rented attic conversion in Corbridge, Northumberland and not-for-profit community centre, Core Music in Hexham. Backing vocals and flute parts were recorded as far away as you can get from the spacious, windswept ancient north before hitting water: a cottage overlooking the sea in Lizard, Cornwall. A small spoken word section was recorded in Mytholmroyd, where the Cragg Vale Coiners ruled with fear and intimidation.

          For instrumentation, the idea was to record some traditional sounds but using software to manipulate and structure the music. "I had vague memories of pirate horror VHS's and creepy 70s and 80s British kids' TV music," explains Dan. "I got hold of some old keyboards and a delay unit which gave a bit of that flavour too."

          Here then, the bucolic meets the technological, and the rural collides with the digital to thrilling effect. "There's certainly a nod towards what many may consider English folk, certainly in Laura's beautiful plaintive voice," elaborates Davey. "But there's also pounding drums, overdriven electric guitar, loops and samples all over the place. So I think to call it folk music would actually be doing it a disservice. It's a set of quite different songs and moods forming a larger soundscape that hopefully takes the listener on a unique journey.

          The band take their name from another literary source: The Shining Levels, author/park ranger John Wyatt's classic 1973 account of living closely with nature in the Lake District. And here it is. Music inspired by the novel The Gallows Pole, an elegiac album of beauty, resistance, anger and poetry. A soundtrack that straddles the ages.

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Stag Dance
          2. Moonless Nights
          3. Tipping Of The Scale
          4. Broken On A Wheel
          5. Valley Boys
          6. Progress!
          7. Deighton
          8. Men Of Straw
          9. Veil Of The Vale
          10. Death Of The King


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