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THE WELL

The Reds, Pinks And Purples

Unwishing Well

    RIYL: The Field Mice, Blue Boy, The Clientele, Cindy.

    The cinema of the scenes as told from the heart and spirit of the omniscient narrator shines through the awe-inspiring oeuvre of Glenn Donaldson's canonical titan that is The Reds, Pinks & Purples. The storied and esoteric histories of every underserved underdog becomes immortalized in records and poignantly penned paeans that evoke the eras and underachievers that became synonymous with their own respective corresponding localized micro-movements. Donaldson channels that psychic spirit and journeyman earned wisdom to provide contemporary era rock operas that eulogize tales of infinitely influential rises and falls. Crystalizing the tragic self-celebrating kingdoms of fortunate failures, false heroes, music press deities of limitless deceit, hometown dive gods and humanity in the grips of all its romanticized wonder and woe — the latest sortie of the sensational and spectacular takes aim at the threads of hope and an untethered abandon into the intimacy and dualities of idolatry and isolation with Unwishing Well.

    Ever since its emergence from the harried late 2010s — The Reds, Pinks & Purples have become the absolute encapsulation of Donaldson's own proliferation and prestige. From a musical legacy that chronicles a long list of minor successes and major tragedies; Glenn distills the timelines of distinction from yesterday, today, tomorrow and whatever may be into a musical phenomenon that embodies something more than all of its analogous inspirations. Beyond the clamor about the retro cult pop artistic allusions and tropes that can be found in those spirit expanding kaleidoscope chord chimes; Donaldson takes you on a guided tour through the San Francisco underground movements that would have been, could have been or perhaps never were at all from the start. The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ coveted catalog inadvertently, consciously or unconsciously, offers an authorized and anonymous history of imperfect and ambitious debutantes, dilettantes, auteurs, et al. The lauded visionaries whose volition informed the big money touring stage headliners, but only enjoyed a fleeting jaunt through the glorious corporate clad carnival canopies from the touring circuit routes and tech funded festival tent tabernacles. Unwishing Well is a eulogy for the buzz bands that crashed, the wily one hit wizards, and omnipresent (and often uninspired) eternal aesthetes who work the lucrative outlets of licensing media markets.

    Glenn pulls no punches with the promiscuity of the pop machines and their exploited propped up brand ambassadors on the cutting "Your Worst Song is Your Greatest Hit" that tangles with the lumbering and inescapable creatives and careerist trajectories that trade in boardroom playbooks and verticals. Expressions and influencers break out into the collective commissaries of commerce exhibitionism on “Public Art”, to auditing the forums of fandom that pertain to developed affinities and the roads to rabid infatuation with the obsessive in earnest, “Learning to Love a Band”.

    And while the Glenn spins many yarns on the under-appreciated secret histories of DIY, Unwishing Well offers cathartic hymns of modern malaise. Sighing in lamentation of regressive trends, “What’s Going on with Ordinary People'' balks with concern over contemporary states of devolution, while “Faith in Daydreaming Youth” questions what vestiges of hope and valor can be found in the new vanguards of political bodies that govern the world’s sovereign daydream nations. The dustbins of dastardly discontinuity are imbued with desire and grief on the dramatist tragedy of “Dead Stars in Your Eyes”, to basking in the discarded ditches of the damned below in voids of obscurity on “Nothing Between the Lines at All”. The human addiction to languishing in anguish, misery and negativity tussles, tosses and turns on “We Only Hear the Bad Things People Say”, the penultimate ode to inherent human infallibility as Donaldson rides the audience out into the gilded sunset glow of “Goodbye Bobby”.

    The central set piece of Unwishing Well revolves around the title track that wrestles with wellness and wishes tempered by the sobering reality of ultra pragmatic skepticism. Donaldson shows the audience where the dream falls short, an indictment on the fickleness of wants and the life/work/art balances of making it all work. It's the group that never makes it, the idea that never gets off the ground, the recognition that never arrives, the raise that is never awarded, nor the promotion to the next ladder rung that remains laughably inaccessible. Glenn has the gift of bridging the divide between the hunger artist, their adoring cult public and the common threads that connect these local and global communities through the humanist cause of collective commiseration.

    As increasingly found in the continued adventures of The Reds, Pinks and Purples canon — Glenn circles the drain of surrendering to unabashed sentimentality in passions worthy of being showcased as the top headlining spot that your favorite revered then later reviled pop act never even had the chance to claim or ascend. Unwishing Well uplifts and uproots the undercurrents that carry the commonalities between the spectators and the spectacles. Donaldson pays homage in heart to everything and everyone that never got their due or to the lucky ones that made the grade, but paid an ultimate price. The cycle of these pop vignettes depict successes and failures in the same sentences, existing within the same stanzas, where the stories of making it and breaking it operate as events that live on different sides of the same coin. Unwishing Well is a reflection of us, the icons we adore, the Adonises we worship, the false prophets that proselytize the edicts from theses cults of personality, the fallouts, the third acts and the artistic fabrics that spool these sub-sects of artful dodgers into the stuff of legend.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: There are obvious comparisons to be made here with the jangling, morose indie of the late 80's and 90's but the resulting sound on The Red Pinks & Purples' new album is both hugely modern, while breezily embracing the lo-fi jangle and airy melodicism of the era. 'Unwishing Well' is a perfect distillation of both Donaldson's established sound and the musical influences he absorbs, and results in an absorbing and emotional listen.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. What’s Going On With Ordinary People
    2. Learning To Love A Band
    3. Unwishing Well
    4. Faith In Daydreaming Youth
    5. Your Worst Song Is Your Greatest Hit
    6. Dead Stars In Your Eyes
    7. Nothing Between The Lines At All
    8. Public Art
    9. We Only Hear The Bad Things People Say
    10. Goodbye Bobby

    Brigid Mae Power

    Dream From The Deep Well

      ‘Dream From The Deep Well’ is the new album from celebrated Irish singer songwriter Brigid Mae Power. Recognised as a purveyor of dreamier pop with folky leanings, this new album is a departure; a unique marriage of traditional stylings and very modern melodies; a breath-taking soundtrack which underpins her gorgeous vocal.

      Filled with personal tales of offspring and grandparents, the lovelorn and the lost, it’s the essence of re-imagined folk music, from the traditional intro and outro that act as bookends. It’s folk music, but not as we know it. In these ever-confusing and often annoying times, Brigid brings us modern folk for modern folk, with her evocative vocal, doubling back on itself with strings, steel guitar, horns and mellotron adding to its baroque loveliness. It’s waving back at her rootsy past, daubing new colours on a much-loved canvas. ‘Dream From The Deep Well’ is a new visionary beginning from a gifted songwriter.

      Elsewhere, there’s the lovelorn longing of her version of Tim Buckley’s ‘I Must Have Been Blind’, alongside a moving tribute to the late Ashling Murphy, a 23-year-old Irish primary school teacher and traditional Irish musician who was attacked and killed while jogging along the Grand Canal just outside Tullamore, County Offaly. It's a harrowing story, delivered with overwhelming compassion. In the best tradition of old school folk music, it opens up a pressing issue to a wider audience.

      It's an album that’s politically primed and socially aware; a broadside for us all, this is Brigid Mae Power’s most complete album yet.

      “Her haunting voice, an instrument that raises the everyday to a near-mystical realm.” The Guardian.

      “The Irish singer-songwriter flits between past and present; between traditional and modern forms; between the heaven in her voice and the earthbound epiphanies of her words.” Pitchfork.


      TRACK LISTING

      Side A:
      A1 I Know Who Is Sick
      A2 Counting Down
      A3 Maybe It's Just Lightning
      A4 I Must Have Been Blind
      A5 The Waterford Song
      A6 Ashling
      Side B:
      B1 I'll Wait Outside For You
      B2 Dream From The Deep Well
      B3 I Don't Know Your Story
      B4 Some Life You've Known
      B5 Down By The Glenside

      The Well

      Death And Consolation

        Death and Consolation is without a doubt a weighty album title. And, Austin, TX trio The Well is among the heaviest heavy psych bands in existence. So when we say that there’s even more darkness and intensity to the band’s third album than previous efforts, take heed. It’s a deep sea diving bell of enveloping heaviness and longing. “This one is a little more personal,” says guitarist/vocalist Ian Graham. “2018 was a strange, dark year. A lot of change going on in my life, there was a lot of depression and coming out of it over the last year. I wanted to call this Death and Consolation, because in life that’s a constant.” While The Well continue to walk an intriguing line between authentic early 70s doom/heavy psych and frayed weirdness of dark folk — especially with their haunting unison male/female vocals — the new album also adds the stark vibe of post-punk acts like Joy Division and early The Cure. “I feel like this album is almost more gothic. We’re big fans of post-punk,” Graham says. There’s also much less jamming, the songs are tight and concise. And, did we mention, heavy? The band tuned down a full step to C-standard tuning for this album, which gives the proceedings its monstrous sound. Sonically, Death and Consolation picks up where The Well — Graham, bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley and drummer Jason Sullivan — left off with their widely heralded 2016 RidingEasy album Pagan Science. The band once again recorded with longtime producer/engineer Chico Jones at Estuary Studio in 2018, who has turned the knobs for all three of their albums (Jones engineered the band’s debut album Samsara with producer Mark Deutrom [Melvins, Sunn0)))] in 2013.) Samsara, released late September 2014 was ranked the #1 debut album of 2014 by The Obelisk and Pagan Science among the Best of 2016 from the Doom Charts collective. Likewise, the band’s intense — some even say “possessed” — live performances have earned them featured slots at Austin’s Levitation Fest, as well as tours with Kadavar, All Them Witches, Black Tusk and more. “This album might be a little less produced, because I didn’t want to push technical stuff as much,” Graham says. “I’m so scared of getting too complicated when getting better at guitar. This is still kind of punk rock.”

        Co-produced by Joel Ford (Ford & Lopatin, Airbird), this record plays as a single continuous piece of 21st century psychedelic music and features Krell’s most bewitching sound experimentation to date. Moreover, the stories Krell sings on this record – some biographical, many from the most knotted corners of human life – are deeply personal and human(e). The Anteroom - with its blizzardous electronic noise, fragile melodies and poignant poetry - reclaims the experimental core of the HTDW project.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Humans Disguised As Animals | Nonkilling 1
        2. Body Fat
        3. False Skull 7
        4. Nonkilling 3 | The Anteroom | False Skull 1
        5. Vacant Boat
        6. Nonkilling 13 | Ceiling For The Sky
        7. A Memory, The Spinning Of A Body | Nonkilling 2
        8. Nonkilling 6 | Hunger
        9. July 13 No Hope No Pain
        10. Love Means Taking Action
        11. Brutal (feat. Ocean Vuong) | False Skull 5
        12. False Skull 12
        13. Nothing 

        Luke Haines

        Is Alive And Well And Living In Buenos Aires: Heavy Frenz The Solo Anthology 2001-2017

          Having played with The Servants in the late 1980s, Luke Haines carved a unique niche for himself in the 1990s with witty lyrics, wry humour and some stellar tunes with The Auteurs and other acts (Black Box Recorder, Baader Meinhof).

          By 1999, feeling aghast at the state of the Brit Rock scene in the UK, Luke decided to “start a righteous solo trip”, having been commissioned to write the soundtrack for the film Christie Malry's Own Double Entry (2001). Sticking with Virgin Records, Luke then unveiled his first solo album proper, The Oliver Twist Manifesto, before fronting a new-look Auteurs for Das Capital.

          In due course, Luke switched labels to indie Fantastic Plastic for Off My Rocker At The Art School Bop (2006), followed in 2009 by 21st Century Man. Since then, he’s curated a string of imaginative, amusing and always worthwhile albums for Cherry Red Records.

          Alive And Well… is the first-ever anthology of Luke’s solo work, cherry-picking musical highlights from each of his long players as well as a smattering of B-sides, radio sessions, rarities and – on Disc 4 – a raft of previously unissued material.

          With sleeve-notes by Luke himself, Alive And Well… is a very personal statement spanning the last two decades of the musical life of Luke Haines.

          The National return with their much anticipated seventh album, produced by Aaron Dessner, with additional production by Matt Berninger and Bryce Dessner. The album was mixed by Peter Katis and recorded at Aaron’s Long Pond studio in Hudson Valley, NY.

          While in some ways it’s typically National-sounding, they’ve definitely added some new elements to their sound. Opening track “Nobody Else Will Be There” is a stripped back ballad with melancholic piano, and Matt’s distinct vocals, but the electronics pulsing away in the background are a sign of what’s to come with the album.

          All the usual elements are there, intricate guitars, delicate piano keys, scatter-shot drums and of course Matt’s mumbling/crooning baritone, but a new layer of electronics bubbling away in the mix adds a new dimension to their sound.

          As with the last couple of albums, it features mostly fairly downtempo ballads but they do ramp things up from time to time: “Day I Die”, “They System Only Dreams In Total” and the big rock-out track of the album, “Turtleneck”. It’s taken a few listens to get into it, but as a fan I’m certainly not disappointed.

          TRACK LISTING

          A1. Nobody Else Will Be There
          A2. Day I Die
          A3. Walk It Back
          B1. The System Only Dreams
          In Total Darkness
          B2. Born To Beg
          B3. Turtleneck
          C1. Empire Line
          C2. I’ll Still Destroy You
          C3. Guilty Party
          D1. Carin At The Liquor Store
          D2. Dark Side Of The Gym
          D3. Sleep Well Beast

          The impressive crux of Pagan Science, the sophomore album by Austin trio The Well, is that It’s a multiplicity of itself. From the band’s dual male/female vocals to their transcendently timeless sounds and erudite lyrical themes, Pagan Science is crystalline in its complexity and clarity at the same time.
          The Well walk an intriguing line between authentic early 70s doom/heavy psych and the more frayed-edge-of-sanity weirdness of their hometown’s legendary noise rock scene, whilst also splicing in shades of chamber choir vocals, occult rock and dark folk.

          Sonically, Pagan Science picks up where The Well — bassist/vocalist Lisa Alley, guitarist/ vocalist Ian Graham and drummer Jason Sullivan — left off with their widely heralded 2014 RidingEasy debut Samsara. Here, the band’s heavy psych, proto-metal sound growing evermore vast, yet more focused on hooks, and their lyrics more conceptually intricate. Part of a running thread throughout the album’s introspective lyrics is the notion that the world outside of one’s own mind is also a creation and reflection of the interior world of that mind. And, just like the band’s sound is one thing (undeniably heavy) and simultaneously another (dark folk, blues... there’s even a Crosby, Stills & Nash cover, “Guinnevere”), it’s this multiplicity that makes Pagan Science such a captivating record.

          Pagan Science was recorded with producer/engineer Chico Jones at Micro Mega Studio in 2016. Jones also previously engineered the band’s debut album Samsara with producer Mark Deutrom [Melvins, Sunn0)))] in 2013. Samsara, released late September 2014 was ranked the #1 debut album of 2014 by The Obelisk and widely praised in the press. Likewise, the band’s intense — some even say “possessed” — live performances have earned them featured slots at Austin’s Levitation Fest in 2015 & 2016, as well as tours with Kadavar, All Them Witches, Black Tusk and more.

          The album kicks off with a looped vocal harmony launching a slithering guitar riff and thunderous drums on “Black Eyed Gods” in which the band’s dual vocalists sing in unison throughout like Byzantine monks. “Skybound” starts with a fast churning riff with vocals run through heavy delay and reverb until the drums cut out briefly, then, dropping to half- time the song becomes a massive psychedelic throb as the vocals continue to loop onto themselves above the proceedings. “A Pilgrimage” takes a slower groove, accented by pulsing congas and single note Middle Eastern sounding guitar progression. “Byzantine” begins with monk-like chants, swelling cymbals and droning guitars building up to pounding toms until it all coalesces in a massive eruption. “Choir of the Stars” slowly builds over a lugubrious bass line as a snarling slide guitar weaves throughout, while haunting sounds of yelping coyotes echo in the background. The song ends in a pig-like guitar squeal as “Brambles” begins beneath. Syrupy guitars merge with Alley’s and Graham’s unison vocals to form a slowly building monolithic sound describing a paranoid chant. Throughout, Pagan Science channels the supercharged no-frills hard blues of Blue Cheer and Deep Purple while adding multiple layers of effects, entrancing vocals and the dark thrill of a funhouse hall of mirrors. 

          TRACK LISTING

          01. Black Eyed Gods
          02. Forecast
          03. Skybound
          04. A Pilgimage
          05. Drug From The Banks
          06. Byzantine
          07. One Nation
          08. Choir Of The Stars
          09. Brambles
          10. I Don't Believe
          11. Guinnevere
          €

          Nine Black Alps

          Live From The Wishing Well

            The story and history of Nine Black Alps is forever etched in UK grunge-rock folklore. 2014 however was the year when they released their 5th album ‘Candy For The Clowns’. Signed to the newly formed Leeds label Hatch Records, the album was a far more distorted and rockier affair that harked back to the likes of Everything Is and Love/Hate.

            With core members Sam Forrest (vocals, guitar), David Jones (guitar), James Galley (drums, vocals) and bass player Karl Astbury, the band retained their distinctive and energetic sludge, grunge-rock sound albeit with a tighter and more dynamic style. ‘Candy for the Clowns’ was praised by the likes of Rock Sound, Classic Rock and Drowned in Sound, while 6 Music and XFM championed singles such as ‘Novokaine’ at radio.

            For a band 12 years into their career ‘Live from The Wishing Well’ marks their first ever live album. Set for release on 4th May it features a full length Nine Black Alps performance captured on 14th December 2013.

            The show, taking place at Gorilla in Manchester was a special concert to celebrate 10 years since the band formed. Nine Black Alps ran through a set that covered the full breadth of their career from early singles 'Shot Down' and 'Unsatisfied' to recent releases like 'Supermarket Clothes'.

            At just under an hour in length, the album showcases the band's fiery live sound with no production trickery and even features a special guest appearance by ex-bass player Martin Cohen.

            TRACK LISTING

            1. Burn Faster
            2. Forget My Name
            3. Don't Forget To Breathe
            4. Not Everyone
            5. Buy Nothing
            6. Ironside
            7. Patti
            8. Just Friends
            9. Supermarket Clothes
            10. Ilana Song
            11. Bitter End
            12. Heavier Than Water
            13. Unsatisfied
            14. Be My Girl
            15. Get Your Guns
            16. Shot Down

            Get Well Soon

            The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads - Bonus Tracks Edition

              'Get Well Soon are one of Germany’s most prolific bands of the decade and certainly the most extravagant!

              We would even go further and claim, that Konstantin Gropper is the Caspar David Friedrich of his generation; strictly musically speaking, of course. In case you don’t know, Friedrich was the most important romantic painter of the 19th century. Similarly, Konstantin’s musical vehicle, Get Well Soon is best known for its hugely romantic, allegorical songs, full of drama, morning mist and night skies. No gothic ruins though.

              Their new album ‘The Scarlet Beast O'Seven Heads’ is one of the most sophisticated pop albums of the year. The album features 13 new, wildly imaginative and of course opulently arranged songs. It is, in certain moments, a colourful and beautiful nod to the genre we know as ‘Cinema Italiano’ (think Nino Rota or Argento), though these masters of the strange, wild and adventurous are just one of the 3,227 inspirations that went into the making of this new ornate Get Well Soon masterpiece.'

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Prologue
              2. Let Me Check My Mayan Calendar
              3. The Last Days Of Rome
              4. The Kids Today
              5. Roland, I Feel You
              6. Disney
              7. A Gallows
              8. Oh My! Good Heart
              9. Just Like Henry Darger
              10. Dear Wendy
              11. Courage, Tiger
              12. The World’s Worst Shrink
              13. You Cannot Cast Out The Demons, You Might As Well Dance

              CD Disc 2: ITZTLACOLIUHQUI (Comes As Downloads With The Vinyl)
              Lesson 1: You Are Welcome!
              Lesson 2: Soon!
              Lesson 3: Take Shelter!
              Lesson 4: Absolution And Eternal Refuge
              Lesson 5: Break The Cycle! Break Your Chains!


              The Chap

              Well Done Europe

                The Chap, a pan-European modern pop group based in London and Berlin, began life at the beginning of the last decade. In their quest to create music which “sounds wrong”, they pre- empted the current flavour for lo-fi prog-pop by several years and spawned a legion of fans who couldn’t believe how a band that revelled in the multilayered detachment and precision of their recordings could dive headlong into the realms of hard rock n roll immediacy, gaining themselves a reputation as one of the most exciting, challenging, and engaging live acts around. After two seminal bedroom-produced albums, “The Horse” and “Ham” - the latter in particular gathering considerable acclaim from the likes of Errol Alkan, Kissy Sellout and The Wire Magazine - The Chap delivered a third album, the masterpiece that is “Mega Breakfast”. This album featured corporate motivational style anthems about “proper music” and wanting to clone oneself.

                Despite being lauded by Pitchfork and many others, commercial success and world domination continued to evade The Chap, so they finally decided to “sell out” by recording a collection of pop classics that constitute their fourth album “Well Done Europe”. Needless to say, it’s another masterpiece featuring hit after hit, quite a few of which mention love and death and stuff like that. It sounds like the coolest new wave pop album ever recorded by a group of teachers (almost nobody in The Chap is a teacher).



                TRACK LISTING

                01. We’ll See To Your Breakdown
                02. Even Your Friend
                03. We Work In Bars
                04. Obviously
                05. Gimme Legs
                06. Well Done You
                07. Nevertheless, The Chap
                08. Pain Fan
                09. Torpor
                10. Maroccan Nights
                11. Few Horoscope
                12. Chalet Chalet

                Iron And Wine

                Around The Well

                  Collecting songs ranging from out-of-print to never-before-released, "Around The Well" spans Iron and Wine's earliest sessions which yielded the band's debut (2002's "The Creek Drank the Cradle") through to material recorded for 2007's "The Shepherd's Dog". The "Around The Well" collection is broken up into two sections. The first half is an assortment of hushed home recordings, unedited and raw, and the second highlights moments captured in the confines of proper studios with the help of other musicians, friends and engineers. The album's title comes from a line in the song "The Trapeze Swinger", a fan favourite which was written for and included in the movie 'In Good Company'. Three more songs written and recorded for the film finally make their appearance here as well: "Belated Promise Ring", "God Made The Automobile" and "Homeward, These Shoes". "Around The Well" also brings together hard-to-find covers such as The Flaming Lips' "Waitin' for a Superman" and New Order's "Love Vigilantes", along with one of Iron and Wine's earliest originals, "Sacred Vision".


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