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Blue Orchids

The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain) - 2023 Reissue

    The first really revolutionary fracture in The Fall was the departure of guitarist Martin Bramah. Commonly understood as the only viable challenger to Mark E Smith's dominance of the band, Bramah was The Fall's first singer and primary songwriter at the start. His subsequent group, Blue Orchids, was originally a reconstitution of the first recorded line-up of The Fall, without Mark, but with another slightly later Fall member, Eric McGann. After slight revisions in the lineup, Blue Orchids created a singular sound of maniacally aberrant psych on two thrilling singles - "The Flood" and "Work" - before recording one of the most imperfectly perfect debuts in what could no longer really be called 'rock and roll'.

    'The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain)' eschews the frenetic energy of those singles to present itself as the greatest 'morning after the trip' albums ever - Martin and Una's wonderful explanations of the experiential backdrop to "Sun Connection" take up nearly as much space as those of all the other songs combined! Without exception, the songs are brilliant, majestic and memorable . . . plus it's possible that more covers of songs from 'The Greatest Hit' have been recorded by bands of credibility and renown than from any single Fall LP (although we're counting!), with near-contemporaneous versions arising from Fish & Roses, Slovenly, Dustdevils and Aztec Camera and many others since.

    Never reissued on vinyl since its 1982 release, due to objections from the WB Yeats estate for the album's musical interpretation of the author's "Mad As The Mist And Snow" (now in public domain!), this deluxe edition includes a bonus album with two unreleased pre-album demos, two further demos released only on long out-of-print cassette compilations from more than forty years ago, and scorching live set featuring several of their early songs, extensive liner notes from Martin Bramah and Una Baines, a reproduction of the original lyric fold-over booklet and (with the 2LP version), a download card. The original artwork for the album and booklet have been restored painstakingly, and as Bramah himself says, "It's better than the original." After over four decades, we're proud to make available this classic album again. Tiny Global Production's first release was a companion to this release (it's also available again), containing the band's two 7" singles, the album's follow-up EP 'Agents Of Change', and two unheard demos.


    Sun Connection
    Dumb Magician
    Tighten My Belt
    A Year With No Head
    Hanging Man
    Bad Education
    No Looking Back
    Low Profile
    Mad As The Mist And Snow
    Disney Boys (demo)
    The Flood (demo)
    Low Profile (C81 Cassette Version)
    Thirst (Pleasantly Surprised Cassette Version)
    Live In Manchester, 2014: Motorway
    Hanging Man
    A Year With No Head
    The Unknown

    Blue Orchids

    Magpie Heights

      Martin Bramah, lead guitarist in The Fall, was the final original musician to leave the band and inarguably the most important factor in the band's original sound. What Bramah took with him on departure was a sort of hazy psychedelic vision featured so readily on The Fall's debut, Live At The Witch Trials, and continued through his work with Blue Orchids, even if that lineage was obscured somewhat by The Fall's popularity and consistent stream of releases. For Bramah, the decades after The Fall were fraught. After regrouping as Blue Orchids with fellow Fall castaways Una Baines and Rick Goldstraw), initial releases rose to notoriety with two caustic and intense 7" singles, The Flood and Work, along with the more varied collection of songs featured on their debut LP, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), which topped the indie charts and remains a touchstone for many artists. Personal issues within the band made progress difficult. The 12" EP Agents Of Change, introduced changes to their sound (in part due to their work with Nico - yes, that Nico). But after its release, silence followed. Bramah sightings were elusive - a solo on an album by Una's band The Fates, a 12" single with mesmerising songs performed, oddly, in a sort of reggae style. A short second stint in The Fall. You get the picture. Any semblance of a career only began with a series of archival and new releases starting in 2015: a new studio album, followed by another new album nearly every year thereafter. Each sold better than the last, until this year's debut release by HOUSE Of ALL, a 'side project' featuring four other former members of The Fall. It was a hit within days of its announcement, in no small part to its immediacy - recorded in three days - and a healthy dollop of scandal . . . the spectre of retrospective threat to MES's hegemonic rule of The Fall.


      The Face Of Time
      Dark Dame
      Need Woke Her
      As My Vision Cleared
      High Horse
      She Had Practically No Money
      Tableau Vivant
      Replica Of Me
      On Your Honour Then
      Rocket To Stardom

      Oldfield Youth Club

      The Hanworth Are Coming

        After releasing his seventh - arguably best and most popular album - The Odd Shower, The Bitter Springs' singer / songwriter Simon Rivers reinvented himself as Poor Performer, whose own debut, Like Yer Wounds Too, followed the same winning formula, widened somewhat by the inclusion of songs with a greater fragile beauty and introspection . . . though rarely without a degree of self-effacing humour and a rather stylish wit. Decades of self-releasing compact disc-only albums from the far southwestern suburbs of London, with scant regard for promotion or the normal machinations of showbiz - touring, for instance - did little to spread the word about Rivers' unique and prestigious talents. A conversational singer with a delightfully warm and convivial stone, Rivers' sense of the absurd and willingness to portray aspects of life generally unrecognised by pop music, one supposes it's not entirely unfair to have expect Top of The Pops to come calling. Yet the relative absence of cult of Simon Rivers fans is somewhat perplexing, for his lyrics, ideas and tunes all do merit it. There's little affectation in the sense of stage persona, but heaps of personality and intriguing, occasional perverse idea. It's hard to listen to anything he's down without a degree of sheer enjoyment. It's real, without affectation. The very real bumps heads with the slightly mental, just like in life! So what does this new guise - Oldfield Youth Club - have to offer? It's partially a revival of Rivers' first 'real' band, Last Party, and it displays hallmarks of that band's youthful energy. There's a bit of teen glam in Good News I'm Afraid and (Theme From Oldfield Youth Club, even while lead track We're The OYC and When Bob Grant Ruled The World add a dollop of an energetic ruefulness to the mix. A Kind Of Loving In A Loveless Town is an immediate classic, a song one could hear dozens of times before really reaching the core of its magic and majesty. Lest this sound like the work of a solo artist, it does feel like a band - a rather clever one, in fact. Including members Kim Rivers and Neil Palmer (both from Last Party), as well as trumpeter / vocalist Alison Targett, Oldfield Youth Club is a band with an obvious musical kinship. There's a connection to the literal style of Vic Godard's Subway Sect (and members have been shared between both acts) or early Go-Betweens . . . there's an alchemical sensibility shared by all three acts wherein their words and tunes inform each other in a deceptively casual but arresting manner. It's hard not to love, a rare work that earns immediate affection and just grows better from there.


        We're The Oyc
        Good News I'm Afraid
        Strange Family Dynamic
        Lightbulb Moments
        When Bob Grant Ruled The World
        A Kind Of Loving In A Loveless Town
        (theme From) Oldfield Youth Club
        Talk 2 People
        Baby Joy
        The Glue
        Net Curtains

        Tymon Dogg

        Battle Of Wills - 2023 Reissue

          Before hitting twenty, Tymon Dogg had made a single with pre-Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones, recorded with Paul McCartney for Apple Records (running off with the tapes when he sensed they were 'too saccharine'), made a second single for The Moody Blues' label Threshold and then seemingly lost all faith in normal music business machinations.

          So he wandered, busking at tube stations and encountering "Woody", who acted as Tymon's roadie and, when trade was slow, Tymon would teach him a few chords.

          After being assaulted by police, Tymon won a £500 settlement, with which he recorded an album, singing and playing every instrument himself. Dwelling somewhere between avant-garde folk, Weimar cabaret and with an eerie sense of punk's D-I-Y ethos, the 1975 album failed to sell in appreciable numbers.

          By then, "Woody" was known as Joe Strummer and had formed The 101'ers with Elgin Avenue friends and squat-mates. Tymon sporadically played songs with the band, including his "Dog Dirt On Your Shoe" (the only known recording of which is included here), a forerunner to punk expression if there ever were one.

          Finding himself in NYC years later, Tymon was ushered into the studio by Mick Jones to record the first song completed for Sandinista!, "Lose This Skin", possibly the most polarising song on the album. Tymon became a de facto studio member of The Clash through Combat Rock and later joined The Mescaleros.

          But in 1982, Tymon recorded Battle Of Wills, the last release on Dick O'Dell's Y Records, home to The Slits, Sun Ra, The Pop Group, Shriekback and others, reissued here with added studio rarities and a 1980 live set. The sole Tymon Dogg album released by an outside label, it got somewhat lost in the collapse of Y, yet it's a singular work: perfectly executed and fiercely unique. Tymon's vocals transcend the limits of 'rock' music, weaving their way through a seemingly disconnected array of parts - incongruous tabla, unsettlingly upfront violin parts, minimal folk drumming. It feels like an exemplar of some obscure, ages-old musical tradition rather than what it is - a conceptually original work by an artist of rare talent. Unavailable for forty years, the album has been expanded to include a seven-song 1980 live set and six rare studio tracks. With one exception, this extra material has never been available on vinyl, more than half of it was never released at all. Tymon's archives contain bountiful rare and unheard material, and this expanded edition of Battle Of Wills is the first of several planned archival releases.


          1-01 Firefishes
          1-02 Once You Know
          1-03 Safeway People
          1-04 Locks & Bolts & Hinges
          1-05 Battle Of Wills
          1-06 Sirens
          1-07 Brandy Love
          1-08 Too Far To Touch The Ground
          1-09 Low Down Dirty Weakness
          1-10 Get Your Hands Off Me
          1-11 Legal Thief
          1-12 Golden Rain

          2-01 Indestructible
          2-02 Cold Wind Blows
          2-03 Oil.
          2-04 Guantanamo.
          2-05 Lose This Skin (2009 Version)
          2-06 Travelling Man (Re-Visited)
          2-07 Get Your Hands Of Me (Live)
          2-08 Indestructible (Live)
          2-09 The Wheel Of Life And Death (Live)
          2-10 Johnny Is A Wanderer (Live)
          2-11 Safeway People (Live)
          2-12 Lose This Skin (Live)
          2-13 Dog Dirt On Your Shoe (Live)

          Band Of Holy Joy

          Fated Beautiful Mistakes

            Early Band Of Holy Joy existed somewhere on the cut-up side of proto-industrial music, resting between Marc Stewart & Maffia, Sonic Youth, and Current 93, and proponents of a more romantic musical language - Virginia Astley, Dead Can Dance and Cocteau Twins among them - all artists whose work BPHJ's music sat comfortably alongside across on a stream of low-budget vinyl and cassette compilations after the start of the eighties. A great leap in polish led to a deal with Rough Trade and several early '90s albums which flirted with the mainstream, with BOHJ almost an odder, less obvious cousin to Dexys Midnight Runners. When these releases failed to take off as hoped, lost years followed on smaller labels and self-released projects, until the renewed urgency of the 2016 Brutalism Begins At Home EP and increasingly majestic albums on which saw leader Johny Brown's lyricism enter a new phase. The common thread through BOHJ's four decades of recordings is the foundational warmth and humanity of Brown's words. The band's earliest recordings seemed garnered from street-level observations of neighbourhood people and sights. By the time of near-hit "Tactless", their songs - whatever the underlying impulses may have been - had become immediate enough to overcome the mystery of a line like "Do you remember the swan that was shot in the park?"

            Over each of their last three albums - Funambulist We Love You, Neon Primitives and Dreams Take Flight - BOHJ has bettered itself, and may now have reached their apex, Fated Beautiful Mistakes. We live in a time of generally justifiable gloom and awkward uncertainty. So it may appear cavalier to claim this album sounds revelatory in that context, but Band Of Holy Joy's strengths rest largely in Johny Brown and the band's ability to capture a wider societal feeling. One listen to the escapist fantasy of "Our Flighty Season Under The Flighty Sun" and its slightly-haunted ending speaks volumes beyond most of what passes for music in 2023, and it's just one of many perfect moments on this album.

            TRACK LISTING

            Lighthouse Keeper
            New York Romantic
            A Citadel Of Crooked Soul
            Mersey Ferry On The River Thames
            Our Flighty Season Inn The Dirty Sun
            Circus Folk
            City People
            Instagram Moon
            The Curve Of The Bay
            The Full Bloom Of Roses
            Babylon Farewell

            Lloyd / Bean

            Black Cat, Dark Horse

              Since we've known him, Robert Lloyd has made quite clear his enormous affection for the songs and sounds of Freakwater, the duo of Janet Beveridge-Bean and Catherine Irwin who've been wrongly denied their place as rightful and willful progenitors of alt-country's 'movement', which (frankly) is to their credit. Their genius in offering absolute authentic to the sound old-time Appalachian folk music with a modern façade that in no way negates tradition (one of their albums is titled Feels Like The Third Time) is unparalleled within the genre, and Freakwater remain under-appreciated.

              After the start of Covid, Robert dared approach Janet with the idea of recording together. Over the course of the long pandemic, songs were bandied about for months, and when recording was finally practical, a band was assembled with dates set up for a recording session in Valencia, Spain. Robert and Janet were joined by Robert's long-time ally, Pete Byrchmore, the musical foil for Robert's solo album on Virgin and a former Nightingale, Mark Bedford, the bassist for Madness and Terry Edwards' Near Jazz Experience, and Pablo Roda, Spanish mystery drummer, couldn't have worked out more perfectly. Tracks were selected without regard for collective presentation, just the goal of walking out of the studio with an album of perfect gems. Forget Lee & Nancy or George & Tammy, Rob and Janet have an immediate chemistry that only sounds long-lived - and too uniquely them to merit any comparison.

              The title track, Black Cat, Dark Horse is the sole Lloyd / Bean / Byrchmore composition and one of the record 's highlights. Jim Elkington, collaborator with Jeff Tweedy and Richard Thompson, contributes Heavy Reckonings and a song written with Janet, The True Lovers' Knot And The Lie, while Robert adds reworkings from past releases - Sweet Georgia Black and Black Country (with Pete) - not to mention the unreleased Eggs And Bacon. Janet brought One Shot and the unheard Freakwater song Arc Of A Smile. Covers of tunes from Dion and The Monkees and a magnificent Jon Langford song, "Tears Like Stars" round out the album. We daresay the album is among the finest you'll hear in 2023. That it doesn't fit perfectly into any preconceived genre is a testament to its quality. "Songcraft" is a word used infrequently today, yet Black Cat, Dark Horse will show that good songs endure. We're proud that Robert and Janet will find some new admirers through this album's release. The Michael Cumming / Stewart Lee film King Rocker made a case for Robert Lloyd-as-losthero; this album furthers that idea and shows a compelling side of Janet's talent and abilities which will be a surprise to her fans and serve as an entry point to exploring her many other compelling projects. 

              TRACK LISTING

              1. Black Cat, Dark Horse
              2. Heavy Reckonings
              3. Wake Up Baby
              4. Sweet Georgia Black
              5. Eggs And Bacon
              6. Arc Of A Smile
              7. Take A Giant Step
              8. The True Lovers' Knot And The Lie
              9. Tears Like Stars
              10. One Shot
              11. Black Country

              House Of All

              House Of All

                These days everyone loves The Fall, but rarely has a band's rise to cult status been quite as lengthy, unpredictable and unprecedented as that of those lovable Mancunian misfits who went through more line-up comings and goings than anyone sane would bother to count. Martin Bramah, The Fall's singer until Mark E Smith's lesser guitar skills caused them to swap places, was, per Daryl Easlea, "possibly the last true equal to Smith in the group" and likewise the longest survivor of the original line-up. Yet while The Fall was later famous for their legendary productivity, Bramah often went great spans of time between releases, releasing fewer albums in thirty-five years (under any guise) than he has in the last seven with Blue Orchids - who already have a fantastic new album in the can. What caused HOUSE Of ALL to come together is something of a mystery. Bramah has joined forces with four other mighty Fall alumni: Steve Hanley, The Fall's longest-serving bassist, as well as his brother Paul Hanley, who drummed on what may be the best run of Fall records, from "Grotesque" to "Bend Sinister". The three have also played together as Factory Star, for a brief period. Joining them are two surprise members - drummer Simon Wolstencroft, who joined the Fall around the time Paul left, and more surprisingly, guitarist Pete Greenway, The Fall's longserving and final guitarist who has, to our knowledge, never played with the other four before. And the album? Recorded in a burst of intense creativity, we won't tempt to propagandise you, the album speaks or itself, but it wouldn't be a false boast to say that it stands with much of the best Fall or Blue Orchids music, displaying an energy and psychic impulse all its own, each member playing as sharply and with as much drive as ever, around manic motorik grooves and a shocking lack of 'compromise'. It's an album of depth which demands multiple visits to uncover its many dimensions, yet it still satisfies upon first listen. The album will be supported by a week-long tour in late May, with more surprises to come. "[Bramah]'s lyrics are brilliant - some of his best ever. It stands up against the Fall at their very best. It's unimaginable, A Fall Album Without MES." - Ged Babey, Louder Than War. 

                STAFF COMMENTS

                Martin says: There is certainly some echoes of the jagged groove of The Fall here, but House Of All is more of a modern take on Smith's golden era band. It's both wonderfully reminiscent while being entirely a thing all of it's own. A bunch of very talented musicians showing their best side.

                TRACK LISTING

                But Wilful I Am
                Dominus Ruinea
                Harlequin Duke
                Magic Sound
                Minerva Disrobed
                There's More
                Turning Of The Years

                David Lance Callahan

                English Primitive II

                  The follow-up to last year’s first volume, English Primitive II continues the themes introduced previously in a harder, more electric and psychedelic style.

                  The songs were mostly recorded during the same sessions but, if EP I showcased the ‘songs of innocence’, this new set comprises ‘songs of experience’. Callahan's lyrical themes here are frequently the sleaze and corruption of our ‘betters’, the intentional and unintentional brutality meted out on those weaker and the sometimes perverse ways in which this happens. There are moments of reflection among the broken mirrors, but they allow scant solace or reassurance. Dressed in another of Scottish artist Pinkie McClure’s witty and detailed stained glass creations and recorded at home and under a railway arch, EPII rises above its origins and invades the wider world, in all its colour, gritand glory. Each song serves as a monument to its internal tale – in fact, the whole LP is as much a collection of musical short stories as it is an album of songs. Opening with Invisible Man, the impression of a regular person with hidden grievances, biding his time and waiting to lash out is given. Waves of distant samples ebb and fall as the warped guitars swell and crash behind the main themes. We don’t know when this explosion will happen – we only know it will.

                  A sleazy celebration of Britain’s position as the laundering capital of the world follows in the form of Beautiful Launderette. It’s good that we keep everything nice and clean for the whole planet, isn’t it? Business as usual, keeping the globe turning – that’s our role and we love it. The Parrot rocks like only a prolonged evisceration of governmental mouthpieces and their court stenographers can. It’s a thankless task making sure that the powers that be retain their authority in all things and patrolling the borders of what is allowed to be said and believed, but somebody’s got to do it. If you’re providing a service, you’ll need to present a united front against the grievances of the public, so you’ll need The Scapegoat. Mistakes and accidents can’t be the company’s fault, so you’ll need to pay someone to be publicly and repeatedly sacked to make it appear as if you’re solving problems and getting better. Lessons will be learned, going forward. The disturbing tale of Bear Factory begins side two and is the real-life story of the murder of one of the singer’s primary-school classmates in the 1970s, and true in every detail. The victim’s body was never found but the killer justifiably imprisoned for life. A more ancient scent of death pervades The Burnet Rose. This ground-hugging plant covers the graves of the victims in a seventeenth-century plague village on the Yorkshire coast to this day, commemorating their sacrifices when all around have forgotten. It’s this particular songwriter’s favourite flower. Orgy of the Ancients describes the intimate intricacies of ageing politicians and the press as they decide whether to go to war. In grotesque scenarios worthy of Caligula, they decide the fates of our children. And it’s not even half the truth. To finish, the songwriter looks back to an admired predecessor, when he sets William Blake’s famous poem London in a groovier setting than we’re used to – in the form of London by Blakelight. If London swings, it’s from the Tyburn tree. 

                  TRACK LISTING

                  Invisible Man
                  Beautiful Launderette
                  The Parrot
                  The Scapegoat
                  Bear Factory
                  The Burnet Rose
                  Orgy Of The Ancients
                  London By Blakelight

                  The Nightingales

                  The Last Laugh

                    Revisiting a press release for the Nightingales' last album, Four Against Fate, we recalled hesitant anticipation for the forthcoming King Rocker, a film documentary of Robert Lloyd and Nightingales, made by Michael Cumming and Stewart Lee. After forty years of activity, Robert and the band had seen hyped recordings go lost, scant commercial success. Royalties? Ha. Yet response to King Rocker was immediately positive. Fab reviews galore, a long process regaining master rights which led to a series of expanded reissues with Fire. A tour postponed three times finally took place, to fully-packed houses. It was a very good year. The band felt a degree of anxiety prior to the sessions, which took place at Valencia's Elefante Studios. With bassist Andi Schmid isolated during Covid, the band had yet begun working out individual rough sketches, typically battered into songs over a period of months. They went into a new studio blind, with a new producer, Jorge Bernabe, without rehearsals . . . and produced a top-to-bottom masterpiece.

                    Thirty seconds in, "Sunlit Uplands", is already a classic showcasing Fliss Kitson's increased songwriting power and the core dichotomy of the groups's best songs: perverse as fuck, catchy as fuck. i <3 CCTV is highlighted by a fab Jim Smith astral-garage guitar riff . . . and that's a one-two punch few albums ever equal, let alone carry over to the affectionate "Frances Sokolov", Robert's ode to mentor Vi Subversa, the playground riff that underlines "Spread Yourself Out" and then "Bloody Breath", the best encapsulation of all the band's genius in developing a kind of "pop" that no other combo has ever cracked. Other highlights include the lopsided mysterious beauty of "Magical Left Foot", the courtly raver of "I Need The Money At The Time" with a wonderful motorik groove driven by bassist Andi Schmid, and the album closer, "My Sweet Friend", a rockabilly lullaby which sounds like a magical outtake from Robert's one and only solo album It's a corker, it's a marvel, it's the best Nightingales record to date. Try and deny it. 

                    TRACK LISTING

                    Sunlight Uplands (turn That Frown Upside Down)
                    I <3 Cctv
                    Frances Sokolov
                    Spread Yourself Out
                    Bloody Breath
                    Mind Of Stone
                    I Needed The Money At The Time
                    The Very Nature
                    Magical Left Foot
                    Mark Meets No Mark
                    My Sweet Friend

                    Blue Orchids

                    Angus Tempus Memoir

                      Blue Orchids created a singular sound of intellectualised psychedelia on their first 7" singles, The Flood and Work, and despite their historically infrequent outings - the band has released more new music in the last six years than in the whole of the thirty-five years prior to it - the subtle originality of their sound permeates each of their releases, down primarily to original member Martin Bramah's singular vision. Yet each new release presents subtly directed changes to their work.

                      Once at the brink of possible pop stardom that Bramah tossed aside by refusing to move down south to London - which he did a few months later anyhow! - his music has always had a rather perverse commerciality. Relative to the size of their respective catalogues, Bramah's songs have been covered by credible artists roughly as often as those by his first band, The Fall. The hazy oddness and off-kilter sound of Blue Orchids' debut LP, The Greatest Hit (Money Mountain), did not offset its popularity of the cognoscenti. It sold over 15,000 copies and saw its songs covered by the likes of Aztec Camera and pioneering American indie bands such as Slovenly, Dustdevils and Fish & Roses, and it's still a cult classic today - soon to be released as a double album, with unheard songs.

                      The album recalls Blue Orchids' classic debut more than any other chapter of Bramah's catalogue - just take a look at the song titles! The lyrics were written in a freer verse than typical song lyrics allow, the music written later. John Paul Moran - Bramah's longest-serving musical partner - evokes the same eerie atmosphere from his keyboards as Una Baines did from her’s years before, with new member Tansy McNally (ukulele) and rhythm section Vincent Hunt (bass) and Howard Jones (drums) holding it all together. Angus Tempus Memoir is Bramah's most beguiling work in decades and will be supported by numerous UK dates throughout the year, in tandem with a host of special projects. Forty years on, Martin Bramah's Blue Orchids revisit the darker side of The Money Mountain in their most captivating work since their 1982 debut album. 

                      TRACK LISTING

                      1 Perturbation
                      2 What Thing Is Man
                      3 Long And Loud Was The Applause
                      4 The Adventure Thus Embarked Upon
                      5 No Ghosts No Answers
                      6 The Young Generation Is Our Hope
                      7 O Joyous City
                      8 My Sympathies Are Entirely With The Stranger
                      9 They Believe We Ought To Live In Solitude
                      10 It Was In This Scene Of Strife
                      11 For The Death
                      12 Perturbation

                      David Lance Callahan

                      English Primitive I

                        Uniquely of the many acts which came to public awareness through the lauded C86 compilation, David Lance Callahan has pursued a career of consistent brilliance and stark originality. After a run of fine albums with The Wolfhounds, outstanding work with Moonshake and collaborations with members of Stereolab and PJ Harvey (among others), Callahan has outdone himself on this long-awaited solo album, the results of which merit the sort of deep dive best explained with with ample time and a quality turntable. Whether English Primitive I is a product of the past year's isolation or of a long-simmering brew only now ready for dissemination is something Callahan has yet to reveal. Whatever its origins, English Primitive I is the work of a massive talent.

                        Wolfhoundian riffage offered enough ramshackle charm to somewhat obscure Callahan's darker, more penetrating writing. Likewise, Moonshake's musically bi-polar approach disguised his underlying political impulse. Here Callahan's lyricism finally, indelibly, proves him to be among the finest British pop craftsmen. This is his masterwork, a mélange of what has been called "mutant Eastern, West African, folk, blues and post-punk influences" . . . an improbable cross-cultural gumbo, yet one which coalesced into a swirling, kaleidoscopic psychedelia of emotion unlike any other record in this era. As with any recording favouring the avant-garde –works like Balaklava, Brian Jones Presents The Pipes of Pan at Joujouka, and The Heart Of The Congos– one might expect that the impact of English Primitive I will be revealed slowly, over a much longer span of time than the the too-often workaday product of today's independent music scene. With this album, Callahan takes his place alongside cult heroes Robert Wyatt, Scott Walker and Cathal Coughlan as a prime example of seemingly limitless artistic expression.

                        TRACK LISTING

                        1. Born Of The Welfare State Was I 
                        2. Goatman 
                        3. Foxboy 
                        4. She's The King Of My Life 
                        5. She Passes Through The Night 
                        6. One Rainy September 
                        7. Always

                        Band Of Holy Joy

                        Dreams Take Flight

                          The apotheosis of Band Of Holy Joy's bile toward today's pathetic state of affairs will be released shortly – a blistering remix of "The Devil Has A Hold On The Land" from their last album, Neon Primitives. Remixed by Youth (Killing Joke bassist, Paul McCartney collaborator, producer of Melanie C and U2!), who was so taken by the song as to remix it gratis, the remix will be part of a series of 23 discrete 7" 45s by Jon Langford of The Mekons and an assortment fellow travellers from around the globe. Dreams Take Flight transitions from political discourse into a post-virus rebirth of human relationship and the inevitable fumblings of the society's psychological reconstruction over the forthcoming year. Have you ever wondered what purpose your joy or my pain? All those moments shared together to be washed away by the rain . . . Have you ever doubted our super hipster being love-in at all? Just a pair of urbane fools passing through waiting for our call . . . Take a leap into the great unknown. Almost perversely heart-on-sleeve, Johny Brown and compatriots have never fitted well within a particular scene - nor have they ever seem to try.

                          Although recorded under the existence of quarantine and a healthy amount of paranoia, in search of the joy of greatly hindered collaboration, the band has opted to turn over each song to a different visionary video artist for an exhibition which will take place for a week at London's Gallery 46 beginning at the end of February and open to the public. The video exhibition will subsequently be available online, before the album's release. While still featuring some of the band's strongest songs, Dreams Take Flight has a strange film-like ambience in parts, almost as if planned as a soundtrack, a thought mirrored in Inga Tillere's sublime, dream-like sleeve, best seen in real life. "A Leap Into The Great Unknown" and "Notes From A Gallery" will likely be heard as too disarmingly direct for radio, and the videos will likely never see the entry door to MTV, but Dreams Take Flight will ultimately be considered a masterwork of clarity in a confused, contentious time.

                          TRACK LISTING

                          1. This Is The Festival Scene 
                          2. A Leap Into The Great Unknown 
                          3. That Magic Thing 
                          4. When Love Is Not Enough 
                          5. On Set Romance 
                          6. Notes From A Gallery 
                          7. The Rhythm Of Life 
                          8. A New Clear Vision 


                          Four Against Fate

                            An air of the unsettled is a staple of Robert Lloyd’s career, from The Prefects’s dank dexterity and jittery paranoia of the first Nightingales’ release, Idiot Strength, onward through four decades of top-notch recordings. If the unique persona of Lloyd and crew always came across on their ten albums and countless line-ups, it was largely as an acquired taste of the musical cognoscenti. Labels good and bad seemed to feel, at one point or another, a public duty and a point of pride to release a Nightingales album before returning to the business of business. Four Against Fate is remarkable. It’s the work of what’s now the band’s longest-serving line-up. The instrumental precision of any version of Nightingales has been one of the band’s defining hallmarks, but the psychic interplay of a group can take a few albums to kick in with full majesty - here’s proof of that. The rhythm section of Fliss and Andi functions now on a purely intuitive level.

                            Jim’s work now ranks with that of any guitarist in modern ‘rock’ music, not just in originality, but also across an egalitarian mass of inspiration. Each member sings. Although Robert’s voice functions as the band’s superego, Fliss takes lead in several songs. Few bands today sound as much like a single unit as do Nightingales, but this group has the bonus of a distinct and credible musical language, exemplified by The Desperate Quartet, which comes across as both a medieval war march and the anthem of looming apocalypse.

                            When at the song’s halfway point, American classical musician Clara Kebabian’s violin and Mark Bedford’s (of Madness) double bass overtake the Robert, Fliss, Jim and Andi, it’s a jawdropper of such intense perversity that it alone defies the listener to not play the album again from the start. Not that this album lacks ‘hits’ - The Top Shelf, Everything Everywhere All Of The Time, Devil’s Due and The Other Side are stunners. Robert claims Four Against Fate is the first of his album on which he skips no tracks on playback! Finally, the world has awakened to one of British music’s last treasures. After forty years of new labels, this is the first time Nightingales have released an album on the same label as their last full-length.

                            TRACK LISTING

                            1. Thicko Rides Again 
                            2. The Top Shelf 
                            3. Neverender 
                            4. Wicked Winter (Lost In Highland Park) 
                            5. Then I Felt 
                            6. The End Began Somewhere 
                            7. Devil’s Due 
                            8. Everything, Everywhere, All Of The Time 
                            9. The Other Side / On The Make 
                            10. Simple Soul 
                            11. The Desperate Quartet

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