The Jesus and Aeroplane! Seattle’s Drone Rock Masters, The Black Planes, Release Stunning Debut

Pining back to an age of a golden generation of what festivals were ‘meant to be about’, the heart of musical experience will forever remain in what can be achieved through performing live. With careful regard to not cast aside the casual listener, Seattle’s take on hypnotic psychedelia The Black Planes have crafted a new angle on seducing the masses with cutting edge mesmerism through debut album ‘This is the Black Planes’.

The Black Planes

After initial viewing of their new video for ‘Stone in Love’, their style is self-evidently nothing short of a transfixing Austin Powers scene transition. The album was recorded and mixed over a 10 month period, with the mixing and mastering completed by local legend Chris Hanzsek (producer of Soundgarden; Melvins and many others), co-founder of Reciprocal Recordings (home of most early Sub Pop acts, including Nirvana) alongside Jack Endino. The overall concept that inspired the conception of The Black Planes was derived from an aim for a darker, heavier sound than predeceasing concept Friction Pitch, as a more encompassing affair that’s meant to be appreciated as a whole.

The experience is one of echoing back to an era of 70s psychedelia, indulging the audience in a kind of mesmeric gawp at proceedings while simultaneously letting them blow you away. Guitarist Dan Gallagher harks back to his own experiences of seeing Moon Duo perform at The Sunset Tavern in Seattle and heavily hopes to replicate a similar kind of performance in doing so. Listening to the tracks it’s already easy to see the dim lit decadence of the venue being illuminated by twin graphic visualisers projecting the sound waves for multi-sensual appreciation.

Much of the journey is perpetuated by the bass guitar, which slides elegantly through repeated groove patterns. At times, the experience is sustained by the absence of essence, enhancing a sense of calmness, bordering on asphyxiation. This doesn’t last for long, however, as the self produced synth-sounds and delicate guitar permeate a life-giving breath and ambience which serves as a light giving halo circling the all-round easy going vocals.

Since here we’re embracing the Seattle sound, slip your slippers on and settle down to a Starbucks-laden White Russian.

White Russian

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/0FZkiUZJswsfgUt3MBV1nS?si=6hjk8T0lRPO3TWyPALxXww

Youtube:  https://youtu.be/QRYT0ynm8HA

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/theblackplanes/

Website: http://www.theblackplanes.com

Don’t Ban This Filth! Screamin’ Whisper Channel 70s Goodness

Are people in bands getting younger or is it just us? OK, it’s just us, but the youthful visages of Screamin’ Whisper really did have us reaching for the phone to dial the national truanting hotline. Formed around Gaelic-speaking identical twin brothers Brian and Martin Hughes (and gooseberry Zak on drums), you’ll be relieved/disappointed to hear they sing in English, and jolly…well, jolly it is too, glam rock in an untinselly way, with old-fashioned choruses and some nice foot-stompy bits – T-Rex with more sensible footwear. They’ve just released their debut album, “Filth” which has no immediately detectable swearing but still might upset a few of your more elderly relatives.

To sup upon whilst experiencing the Screamin’ Whisper sound, we were in too minds but have settled upon a delicious brew which is both evocative of the 70s and suitable for the younger folk. Chin chin!

Soundcloud:  https://soundcloud.com/screamin-whisper

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/embed/album/6rQdWHpY1DFUwryo9Fiwzl

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/screaminwhisper/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ScreaminWhisper

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/keepscreamin/

Website: www.screaminwhisper.com

Spirits in the Sky with Satellite Ravens

Space rock then. There can’t be many bands that have, on the surface, defined a time, a place and a level of inebriation than Hawkwind, yet it is largely their influence which has led to the emergence of Satellite Ravens. The tie-dyed heartbeat which thrums through their music is all oil on lightbulbs and whooshing guitar effects, a technique which has never entirely disappeared for reasons both musical and otherwise (none of which we condone, obv). Every decade has had their own take on the style, from Spacemen 3 in the 90s to Monster Magnet to Flaming Lips to, more recently, Comets on Fire. Satellite Ravens have an extra twist in that lead Raven (indeed, most of the time, only Raven) is primarily a bassist, meaning that the psychedlic stew is bolstered by a very pleasing funk flavour.

For drinking purposes, though mescal infusions would seem apt on the surface, we can’t miss the opportunity to mention Space Rock Pale Ale which promises nuggets of alien technology.

http://www.satelliteravens.com

https://www.shortsbrewing.com/beers/space-rock/

Slim Loris and the Country Rock Sound of Sweden!

The Alt-Country boom in the mid-90’s was quite a thing – country as a genre had long been derided as rhinestones and fake smiles, but even before the commercial rebirth of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, bands had openly embraced the genre and added their own sympathetically subtle embellishments. Acts such as Giant Sand, Wilco and The Handsome Family brought the dust-swept art of story-telling into ultra-cool indie territory, despite (or maybe even because of) their heartfelt love of the simplicity of the music and the lyrics.

Though alt-country (or, if you prefer, Americana) has settled into its niche quietly now, the ethics and sound are appearing in the most unusual places. Perhaps the gold-standard of these is Slim Loris, a band based in Gothenburg, Sweden, who are producing some of the most life-affirming music you can imagine, whilst keeping a firm grip on reality.  The first track to be aired from their forthcoming EP, “Wild & Untamed”, is “Burning Elephant”, one of the rockier tracks but still brilliantly melodic and wholly satisfying…

Which brings us to booze. What to pair? Presenting the combining of American and Swedish culture:

SoundCloud

https://soundcloud.com/slimloris

Spotify

https://open.spotify.com/artist/4i1M26n7NN5vINKv3VfuHu

Youtube

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYvykGoHrbiiBqa33Ia_pPA

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Slim-Loris/214253388610637

Twitter

https://twitter.com/SlimLoris

Instagram

https://www.instagram.com/slimloris/

Website

http://slimloris.com/

After Hours Post-Rock with Broken Islands

Broken Islands may be the most heart-breaking listening experience of your year – or maybe the most uplifting, such is the strange brew of raucous guitars and honeyed vocals. Post-rock may have had a somewhat tumultuous hay day, evolving from sheets of amplified power chords to orchestral, if rather directionless, suites of floppy-haired yawning. It was a brave attempt to bring classical techniques to rock and indie music but it failed as bands either misunderstood what they were trying to integrate or took themselves too seriously to an alarming degree. And then there’s Broken Islands.

Broken Islands are the band post-rock should have used as its template for glory. Exceptionally grand and widescreen in scope, this is utterly thrilling, indeed the temptation to wheel out cliched phrases of rapture is almost too much to resist. Listen to the track “Crown” and you risk arrest if not moved to tears. It’s a stunning testament to a band who have only unleashed themselves on the world when they had fully developed as both a band and songwriters. Their album, Wars, has just been released (on red vinyl) and is a potential game-changer.

What to accompany this emotional experience? Well, the band are from Canada so it would be nice to bring that into the mix. Lo’, please enjoy a heart (and body warming brew from those good people at Canada Dry

https://www.canadadry.com/recipes/warm-ginger-apple-rum-punch

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-475951978/sets/wars

Spotify:  https://open.spotify.com/artist/5gpCj0xQj8BwdG3uXPUJRr

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvEJQKLM-qaFjTvMXxUMkWg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thebrokenislands/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/broken_islands

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/_thebrokenislands_/

Website: http://www.thebrokenislands.com/

Heavyball – The Perils of Midweek Drinking

Midweek drinking is a terrific thing, until you bring work into the equation. No matter how good an idea it feels to keep putting off the ‘one last drink’, there is something about a midweek hangover which is a crime against humanity. Numbness and pain somehow managing to co-exist for a day which lasts far longer than 24 hours. Heavyball know this and share our pain. Their latest album, “When Can You Start?” is a concept album relating the final week in the life of an office worker whose hopes and dreams are quashed at every turn. Hope springs eternal but sometimes, the refuge of the pub is the best option.

Though several of the tracks have a jaunty, two-tone feel, the mood across the album varies from both joyous to despairing, perfectly summing up the lives of many stuck in a dead-end job: it’s a means to an end but it can soon become a pit it’s impossible to escape from.

To accompany a suitably mood-swinging listen to the album we suggest a proper pint – no American IPAs or fizzy 3% stuff, go for something which tastes lovely but quickly turns into a terrible mistake without you realising until it’s far too late (probably the following day). Can’t go wrong with Black Sheep. Look, posh Black Sheep!

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/heavyball       

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/7l1XJIYCH6Kop2j6plDWvk

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/HeavyballTV/videos   

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Heavyball/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/heavyballreal

Instagram: www.instagram.com/heavyballreal/         

Website: www.heavyball.net  

 

Three Cheers for Cholesterol Jones!

As we tremble in the corner of the pub, waiting for the inevitable nuclear apocalypse, it’s comforting to know that some brave souls are picking up their guitars and setting them to stun.

Splitting his time between the US and London, Cholesterol Jones is both an animator and a musician, using these skills to set the brains of  sensible members of society whirring into thoughts of action, and the dumber elements a slap around the ears. Satan’s in Heaven, the lead track of a forthcoming EP of the same name, is a case in point: tricky to pigeon-hole musically (a bit country; a bit singer-songwriter; a bit gospel; a bit TV advert jingle), it uses the cleverness of the lyrics and outstanding animated video to convey a message which, although easy to understand, is in no way condescending or preachy to its audience.

Impressively, the song sticks in your head for days: the simplicity makes you realise exactly how hard many artists try to cram as much into three minutes as possible, yet by stripping away the flotsam and jetsam, the true genius can ring out. There’s a nagging feeling we should have been following Cholesterol way before we heard Satan’s in Heaven, but, as they say, it’s never too late. But what beverage to celebrate this discovery? We reckon something unassuming but deadly, so what better than the green fairy herself? Chin-Chin!

Julia Mascetti – When Meads Must

As the nights draw in and the opportunities for settling back in the rocking chair with a glass in one hand and the gramophone needle in the other grow, we’re finding ourselves more inclined towards the soothing storytelling, as opposed to the death metal we occasionally happen upon.

Praise due then for Julia Mascetti, a harpist in the Joanna Newsom mould but with the added strings attached, if you like, of being a Brit abroad – in Tokyo, no less. As well as being a prolific blogger, she has grown an audience of local music fans who have been attracted like moths to an open fridge to her shadowy indie folk world of longing and warnings, combining her harp prowess with local musicians playing Japanese instruments. It’s a combination which is both creepy and invigorating and with a sudden thirst for mead. That’s why it says mead in the title. Here’s a picture of some mead, some places to find Julia and a video. Chin-chin.

Links:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/juliamascetti

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliamascetti

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JuliaMascetti

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliamascetti

Website: https://tokyoharp.blog

Grappa Music – The Wondrous World of Johann Sebastian Punk

We’re delighted to add grappa to our list of beverages to enjoy music to, not least because it gives us the opportunity to push Johann Sebastian Punk into the spotlight.

Since 2013, Johann has been aggravating the Italian music scene cognoscenti (and anyone else in his way) as he embarked on a determined campaign to bring his remarkable personae and music to an audience being spoon-fed plastic sound. It wasn’t an immediate success. In fact, it wasn’t much of a success even after the immediate lack of action had passed. Although supported by a loyal band of fans in his home country, there was no way the Italian media were going to stand for his unconventional look and sound, both of which apparently change with the weather – often during the same day.

So, he was launched his latest album, Phoney Music Entertainment, to a much larger audience, specifically targeting the UK, a place renowned for taking rebels, waifs and strays under its wing and nurturing their wayward talent. We’re not sure if Johann needs nurturing, his album sounding so robustly confident, that if anything it’s us that need gentle encouragement. Although portraying himself as something of a court jester, Johann is actually on a serious mission to get audiences to demand more of their “pop stars”, both in terms of material and as artists. We readily accept appalling music as either a joke or a trivial annoyance, but in truth, it’s grating and mood-adjusting for us and depriving musicians of genuine talent and worth the airtime and platform they desperately crave.

Phoney Music Entertainment sees Johann honing his technique (this is his second release) yet drifting from the shoulder-shrugging classic pop of “Tragedy” to the quasi-disco squelch of “The Quintessential” – none of it should really work together but it does – primarily because we’re programmed to accept rock/ballad/rock as a template that has to be stuck to. It’s a quite marvellous record, full of joy but at the same time making us feel somewhat gloomy that this is but a sparkling raindrop in a somewhat sorry puddle. But the album and do your bit.

https://www.facebook.com/johannsebastianpunk/

https://soundcloud.com/johann-sebastian-punk/

https://open.spotify.com/artist/56zl6Mvbe1S3nPWI8MGFin

Furnace and the Fundamentals – Live in Cambridge Review Augst 23rd 2017

furnace

With a name like Furnace and the Fundamentals, it should be a cast-iron, nailed on the wall, skewered into the core of the Earth given that said band is as blood-boilingly elemental as they suggest. If only we had a pound for every time we were led along this merry path, only to be disappointed. Prepare yourselves – it actually happened. On an unassuming evening in Cambridge’s famed Portland Arms, the go-to venue for anyone who’s actually ANY GOOD, there was the quasi-religious spectacle of a band living up to their name. Bless everyone involved.

Party band? Weddings and bar mitzvahs? Soggy sausage rolls? None of it. Furnace and the Fundamentals is an almost perversely talented, energetic, musically-muscular volcano of a band which just happens to play cover versions. Forget your covers of Bon Jovi’s Total Eclipse of the Heart; forget even Bon Jovi’s own version of Total Eclipse of the Heart, and revel in the glory of 6 Australian-based go-getters in glittery red suits shaking you silly.

If you’re after a toilet break during the slow number, you’re in for a troublesome time (or at least the person stood next to you is). Furious from the off, Furnace and his cohorts don’t give you a second to collect your thoughts, powering through song after song without so much as a care for the audience’s collective cardio-vascular system. Half way through you realize you’re jigging along to songs you always thought you hated.

 

Never having thought myself how easy it would be to segue from KISS’s I Was Made For Lovin’ You to a wallpaper-peeling medley of Adele hits, Furnace make us all the eager students to their tartrazine-fuelled headmaster. Blurred Lines becomes Billie Jean; Ginuwine’s Pony becomes Bohemian Rhapsody. It seems obvious when Furnace and the Fundamentals rearrange what you ever thought of some of the most recognisable sounds from across the decades. We’d show you the setlist but with nods sometimes as brief as a couple of lines, we’d be here all day writing it down and our fingers simply wouldn’t stand it.

A packed crowd, who were clearly already savvy to the allure of the band, were joined by the performers on the floor as they did the conga through the crowd and keyboard master, Lachlan Nicholson, knocked out a killer keytar solo. Whilst drummer, Mike Solo, was confined to the corner of the stage, he still managed to add his two cents to the performance antics with stick spins, cross-handed drumming and some ingenious trills and transitions that hold the mash-ups together like superglue.

In some ways, it seemed like The Portland didn’t do justice to the quality musicianship and performance on show, with it struggling to keep a lid on the seemingly unlimited supplies of energy from every member of the band. These guys deserve to be playing bigger venues, packing out tour dates, day in, day out – because if everyone knew that cover bands could be like this, there wouldn’t be the stigma that is usually associated with them. Nonetheless, the lucky Cambridge crowd was treated to an intimate, no-holds-barred performance that proved that Furnace and the Fundamentals are the ultimate party starters – full stop.

It was all pretty revelatory stuff – the band come with a reputation for full-throttle, Olympic-standard party shows, complete with glitter cannons and can-can girls (possibly) but it still comes as quite a shock in the flesh. I really can’t recommend highly enough, one of the most (ahem) incendiary gigs in Cambridge this year. Toto? Check. The Darkness? Check. Beyonce? Check. Paul Simon? Check. How long have you got?