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Joey Herzfeld And His So Called Friends

.... Are Watching You

    ‘Darkly comic and melodic little songs for your horror and amusement’ In 2010, after 5 years writhing and screaming in cabaret/rock band Hooverville, Joey Herzfeld strapped on an accordion and gathered together an impressive array of so-called friends to deliver his nasty but melodic little ditties with a more acoustic lineup.

    ‘..Are Watching You’ is their debut album, a collection of dark and funny tales of hangings, heartbreak, stalkers and lechers all interspersed with foot-stomping instrumentals. Highlights include "Great Again", the story of a failed writer with lofty intentions stalking a famous novelist, "Maggie Dickson", where a woman somehow survives hanging, then sets up a thriving pub overlooking the gallows, and "Cracks", a surprisingly swinging take on modern hermitism whose apocalyptic finale gives the band full licence to let rip.

    Joey has long been something of an anomaly in the North London music scene, honing traditional song-craft while playing with more experimental musicians. So here amidst the rye banjo licks and folk fiddle we find the best and brightest of the Stoke Newington / Walthamstow avant garde. There are cheery clarinet tootlings from Alex Ward, best known for his boundary shredding free improv and noise rock, anchored double bass and keys from Santiago Horro and Luke Barlow, both members of ear-melting math rock band Nought, and springy drums from Jem Doulton of the Thurston Moore Band and Roisin Murphy.

    All of the above have been playing challenging and unpredictable music together for years in every conceivable combination, but here rub shoulders with players from more grounded folk traditions. So, if pithy twisted storytelling accompanied by a circus of wheezing accordion, twanging banjo, gypsy fiddle, wailing clarinet plus an occasional smattering of surf guitar, toy piano, spooky organ, musical saw, glockenspiel, mandolin, ukulele, scronking sax, scrap metal and cutlery (breathe..) intrigues your musical palate, please take a seat at the ringside.. 


    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Coach Hop

    I Like Taylor Swift

      First release on the Scratchy Records singles club is this  power pop anthem from Florida born, London based Charlie Laurence aka Coach Hop.

      On the surface, I LikeTaylor Swift is a lovesong to the titular popstar but upon closer inspection, is an observation on the state of the modern music industry, “In the song I admit I haven’t really listened to much of her music but I’m inundated with images and stories about her” says Charlie. Throughout the song it verges on an admission that it’s not cool to like Taylor Swift but in his trademark style, Charlie doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, as he sings “I like Taylor Swift and I don’t care who knows it, it’s not a guilty pleasure, it’s just a normal pleasure.”

      For fans of They Might Be Giants, Weezer, Fountains Of Wayne etc.


      I Woke Up

        In 2015 London-based Bromide got their electric shoes back on with new bass player Hugo Wilkinson joining long-term collaborators, singer-guitarist Simon Berridge and drummer Ed Lush. The resulting album ‘I Remember’ was described by Vive Le Rock as mixing “the best bits of The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr replete with melancholic melodies and J Mascis-ish guitar lines" and won news fans including Gideon Coe on BBC6 who dubbed their single ‘Mr. Ciccone’s Daughter’ “Fantastic !” and played it for several months at the end of 2016. Another vital piece of the puzzle had also fallen into place as they’d found producer Brian O’Shaughnessy at Bark Studios who seamlessly welded their pop onto their rock and last year the band returned to Bark to record their sixth album ‘I Woke Up’. Again stuffed full of pop delights struggling to reach the 3 minute mark such as ‘Two Song Slot’, the story of a disastrous open-mic encounter turning into a last minute victory and ‘Tale To Tell’ a conscience-pricked near perfect example of the Bromide sound written in the studio while recording, the album also sees the band begin to stretch their wings a bit. ‘Magic Coins’ has an unexpected almost drum and bass inspired rhythm track while album closer and title track ‘I Woke Up’ is a 6 minute Doorsian odyssey. The song began life as a response to the biopic ‘Mr. Turner’ and in particular the scene in the film where the painter is tied to a mast in order to experience the full force of a nocturnal storm. Starting with Berridge’s Glenn Branca inspired intro Lush and Wilkinson then latch on a full-on krautrock groove to build the track through to an epic conclusion complete with thunder, rain and anything else lying round the studio. Elsewhere Patti Smith’s ‘Dancing Barefoot’ is given a thorough work out plus there are contributions from the rhythm section with Lush writing the music for both ‘I’ll Never Learn’ and ‘Always Now’ while Wilkinson provides a breath of fresh air in proceedings with the instrumental ‘Futurist Shore Leave’. With ‘I Woke Up’ Bromide have firmly fixed the songwriter onto the band and vice-a-versa. As one recent twitter live review summed up “They rock hard but the tunes come first: like Elvis Costello fronting Dinosaur Jr” Ain’t gonna argue with that.

        On the long road to releasing their second album, Jonny Cola & The A-Grades have faced down more difficulties than most. Forced to put plans on hold for nearly a year while they dealt with literal matters of life and death The A-Grades found their resolve galvanized at the moment many would have lost momentum, and they re-emerged earlier this year grittily determined to make up for lost time. Upon the release of April’s ‘comeback’ single ‘Straight To Video / Marlborough Road’ critics were quick to proclaim The A-Grades an act worth keeping an eye on. The A-Grades deploy immense, instant classic hooks to entice their audience aboard, before revealing a range and depth capable of keeping listeners strapped to their seats throughout a thrill-ride record, which refines the group’s strong identity at the same time as being unafraid to fly full-throttle into new territory. Although the glitz ‘n’ grime of London town remains a major muse to frontman Jonny, his signature Pulp-tapping style of kitchen sink lyricism also explores wild and exotic new ground on ‘Spitfire‘. Frantic opener ‘In The Woods’ flashes the feral, urgent edge of a fledgling Hanoi Rocks, before lead single ‘Tropical Beach’ jets in on honeyed harmonies paying homage to The Barracudas’ Brit bent on surf rock. Available to stream online from July 10th, with a promo video and download release due to follow in August, it gives a seasonably sunny first taste of ’Spitfire’, without giving away all the curveballs and swerves into the shadows this ambitious album has to offer. The common theme pulsing throughout ’Spitfire’s soaring, swooping emotional rollercoaster is a palpable lust for life - often in the most literal, basic sense, but ultimately embracing every high and low of being alive. Much of the material was written last year, as Jonny first battled end-stage kidney disease, and later recovered from a life-saving transplant operation. He now notes the brush with the brink served to heighten appreciation of all life’s pleasures, and told that ‘Spitfire’ is “pretty filthy … people will be expecting heart-wrenching songs about mortality, and there is one, but even that’s filth! The desire is heightened when the body is weak”. He added “I’m never out of danger because the donor kidney doesn’t last forever. The average life expectancy of a kidney is about 15 years”, This final fact perhaps offers some insight into the passion and pace with which The A-Grades have worked on ‘Spitfire’. Recorded, mixed and funded in a matter of weeks, the record captures the sound of a band not prepared to waste one word, note or moment. ‘Spitfire’s spirit is succinctly summed up in closing track ‘Out of the Woods’, when Jonny muses “we burn the brightest when the darkness wraps round tight”.

        Full English Breakfast

        Candy In Weightlessness

        'A highly eccentric but thoroughly engaging electronic/art-pop debut that aligns him with the Fall, Denim and Frank Zappa.’-Uncut .

        The band’s eponymous debut album released in 2009 garnered many plaudits including the Guardian which called it “genuinely esoteric and obscure, it would have made a superb addition to Rough Trade's late-70s roster’ and the Sunday Times which suggested it was “seriously good” and pulled together “the sound of the Fall, Edwyn Collins, Devo and Wire.”

        Commercial success, of course, did not beckon but then again neither did ignominy and a fall from grace. And were Throbbing Gristle and The Residents on Top Of The Pops every week? I think not. With acute serendipity this brings us to Candy In Weightlessness a follow up album that’s every bit as good as its predecessor - and then some. Naturally, Full English Breakfast were conceived and born outside gravity anyway – like a celestial Fletcher Christian – so it is a logical progression that they should now produce the kind of music capable of existing independently of those who accidentally encounter it. What we mean to say is – if a Full English Breakfast song is playing on your stereo and there is no one there to hear it, how can we be sure it actually exists?

        Inspired somewhat alarmingly by the sweets that were given to astronauts before they embarked on their trip on the Space Shuttle Atlantis last year, Candy In Weightlessness inhabits the unholy territory between screaming and laughing as well as Public Image Limited, New Music, Air, David Arnold and Psychic TV: Ice 9 is a paean to Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle; Bubbleworks could be Killing Joke if it wasn’t so fiendishly clever; and the bleakly ironic Second Hand Poet is no more or less than the sound of a demented Stepford Wife spouting bilious poetry. It’s Ken Clarke sings the Associates, it’s Henry Kissinger sings Joy Division, it’s like nothing you’ve heard before or since.

        Matthew Neel

        New Maps Of Hell

        The inside cover of this CD reveals a post-apocalyptic Trafalgar Square complete with burning buses, a can-opened National Gallery and Nelson’s Column snaking off in collapsed sections towards The Strand. For such a seemingly gentlemanly acoustic album this might appear incongruous - the first song sounds like it was recorded at a cocktail party at the Savoy sometime in the 1930s - but closer inspection of Matthew Neel’s world reveals a catalogue of current psychological ills, from the inevitable environmental to more straightforward existential woes. "Well Anyway" sums up the landscape - 'We are the beaten generation, black-and-blue and godforsaken. But don’t start thinking that we’re easy prey cos we’ll never give an inch and we’ll dig our teeth in', while "First World Blues" resonates with a deep sense of the impending (producers of Panorama looking for a title for their next climate-change special take note). Elsewhere, "Hey Citizen" finds our hero back at the Savoy for a light supper whilst all around genuine pop moments are surfing away happily on top of the angst. often this is due to the deft guitar playing of cohort Luke Brighty - particularly "Emily" with it’s lilting beat and pay-off line 'well I want you for your mind although you’ve got a great behind'. Likewise "Wise Up", complete with Nick Cave cowboy-choir backing vocals and "We Will Be Dreaming"'s instantly familiar 'smiles on our faces' refrain. "New Maps Of Hell" is an accomplished debut, a roadmap for our times and an album that soothes as much as it pricks. like emily, it’s got the lot..

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