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Jeff Monk LP Reviews December 2015

Floating Points

fp_elaenia

Elaenia (Luaka Bop)

Manchester lad Sam Shepherd, with this marvelous set of compositions, has created an almost unclassifiable new sound in modern music. Exaggeration aside, “Elaenia” with its impressive sonic palette and mood intensifying flights, is the kind of music that tickles synapse and hip alike. Shepherd uses mostly vintage synthesizers like the Buchia series, Oberheim and ARP Odyssey, but before you can say “hipster on a tear” the music has infected you. Opening track “Nespole” sets the mood and releasing other distractions from your environment and by focusing on its entry-level heartbeat it will transport you quickly into Shepherd’s dominion. Comparisons to Brian Eno’s early forays into ambient music structures may be partly accurate but as you enter the ten-plus minute realm of “Silhouettes (I, II & III)” you begin to get additional jazz inflections introduced. Additional players (violins, viola, bass, drums and indistinct voices) effervesce up under just enough to nudge the momentum sideways. The freedom and joyfulness the players exhibit is tangible yet doesn’t resort to any kind of cliché. The elegiac title track is a flawless wonderment while “Argente” is closer to classic electronic music than anything else here. Undoubtedly “Elaenia” will winnow its way to Top Ten lists this year and for those that need a subtly mesmerizing aside to their hectic daily grind this is the rest stop of choice. (7 tracks) BUY HERE!

The Lords Of The New Church

Lordslos

Los Diablos (Easy Action)

This rather hefty collection (CD+DVD) brings to life the glam-punkers The Lords of The New Church in all their feather-haired, pseudo-dark glory ranting and roiling to a rapt audience of Spaniards circa 1983/84 for the short-lived alternative culture television programme La Edad De Oro. The colorful liner notes and booklet explain the connection this band made with Spanish audiences in general and their performances on the CD here, while sonically flat and only a short step up from standard bootleg quality, deliver a convincing argument for their popularity at the time. The LOTNC were always a betwixt/between operation. Too glamorous in their back-combed hair and man make-up for the punks that followed them from their Dead Boys (Stiv Bators)/Damned (Brian James)/Dave Tregunna (Sham 69) roots and too raw and punky for the upscale moving, Glam-rock contingent. The band was just slightly ahead of their time. The DVD captures them in full riot in July 1983 and January 1984. The camera angles are less distracting than was the norm and linger on fret boards and faces long enough at a stretch to make you feel like you are at least close to the action. Brian James in particular stands out here as a man possessed, moving from chords to quick solos without batting a black eyelash. Bators, as was his style, never stops crawling, bouncing, jumping or mewling for effect. As an historical document this is a necessary complement to any fan but if you haven’t slipped into the Lords Of The New Church dungeon this is the perfect skeleton key to entry. (CD: 11 tracks, DVD (region free): 23 tracks) BUY HERE!

 

Jeff Monk

Long serving music writer and hermit from the frozen center of Canada JM spends his days creating a pleasant environment for world class ballet dancers while a looping soundtrack of loud rock and roll music boils continuously in his head. This is something that can't be fixed. At your service. Now buy him a cigar and exit.

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December 11, 2015 By : Category : Front page Music Reviews Tags:, , , ,
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Roxy Music – ‘Manchester Manifesto’

DVD/CD set, Easy Action/AVF

Originally filmed by Granada TV in May 1979, this concert from Manchester Apollo was part of the band’s comeback UK tour following their three year hiatus. Garnished with three numbers from the recently issues Manifesto (interestingly, no ‘Dance Away’ or ‘Angel Eyes’), the drew heavily upon the group’s impressive back catalogue, while showcasing their visual metamorphosis from post-glam butterflies to singles bar lounge lizards.

Although filmed by what Ferry describes as the ‘outside broadcast from Coronation Street’ the reproduction quality for viewing on contemporary HDTVs is good, especially when one considers the technology available at the time. There’s some nice period lysergic special effects during ‘In Every Dream Home A Heart Ache’ and multiple camera angles are well utilised. Additionally, the concert has been enabled for 5.1 surround sound.

Given that the band had moved on from the extravagant costume party of the Eno era, much of the visual focus falls on their frontman, who – fully aware of the camera’s presence at all times – runs through a comprehensive range of emotive gurning that draws the close-up lens magnetically to him. Dressed in cerise leatherette suit, white shoes and wearing a good hundredweight of slap, Ferry initially resembles David Sylvian’s big brother, but as he gets sweaty, suave seems to leak from his very pores. At one point, I found myself riveted to tracking the progress of a rivulet of sweat as it traversed the right side of the frontman’s fizzog.

While he occasionally starts dancing like a man on his way from buffet to dance floor at a wedding reception, when Ferry breaks out the moves – as he does for ‘Love Is The Drug’, the effect is somewhat mesmeric. After a bravura Manzarek solo on ‘Dream Home’ and Bri’s harp interludes during ‘Ain’t That So’, the quintet shift into a powerhouse home stretch that has the previously seated audience on their feet for ‘Love Is The Drug’, a high-octane ‘Editions of  You’ (which provokes an outbreak of duckwalking by Messrs McKay, Manzarek, and Tibbs) and ‘Re-Make/Re-Model’. The final track culminates in a rapturous response, inspired in no small part by Andy McKay’s sax heroics – although dressed like an Orwellian ticket inspector; the horn titan provides the band with a second visual focal point throughout.

Finally, the band return in shirtsleeves for a post-coital ‘Virginia Plain’, which culminates in the customary participative climax. On the whole, it’s an engaging performance that amuses and delights in pretty much equal measure.

The set also includes a sleevenote booklet and a CD recording of the concert that brings out the aural nuances of the performance particularly well.

To order Manchester Manifesto direct, click HERE    

June 16, 2015 By : Category : Glam Music Pop Rock Tags:, , , ,
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Amebix – ‘Knights of the Black Sun’

(single, Easy Action)

A taster for the forthcoming Sonic Mass album, set for release this September, ‘Knights of the Black Sun’ is the Amebix’s first new material for 24 years. Described by vocalist/bassist Rob ‘The Baron’ Miller as, ‘A coming of age for our music’, the single can perhaps best be viewed as a continuation of the developmental curve that has lain dormant since 1987’s Monolith LP.

This development is largely predicated upon the trio’s increased mastery of their instruments, which enables them to expand into more complex arrangements far removed from the direct assault of early material such as the mighty-but-basic ‘Arise’ and ‘Curfew’. Whereas Rob’s bass would previously have been employed to titanic sledgehammer effect, here it is employed to add subtle infusions to a track that begins gently, before building toward an ominous anthemic peak.

Underpinned by insistent riffage, discreet synths and thundering toms, Rob’s melcholic, reflective vocals convey the mythic lyrical content effectively to evoke a sense of frosted, bleak abandonment that is described by the band as ‘a lighter moment’ from forthcoming long player.

To order the exclusive 12” pressing of the single from Easy Action, click here

Offical Amebix Site:  http://www.amebix.net/

June 5, 2015 By : Category : Music Post-punk Punk Tags:, , , ,
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AMEBIX – NEW SINGLE

‘Knights of the Black Sun’ – Released 6 June

Cult British underground heavyweights AMEBIX have re-emerged from the darkness to announce the release of a new single, ‘Knights of the Black Sun’, their first new material for almost 24 years.

The single celebrates Rob and Stig Miller’s return to the music scene, with the addition of Roy Mayorga (Stone Sour) to complete the trio. 

Singer/Bassist Rob ‘The Baron’ describes the release as, ‘a coming of age for our music, this is going to surprise a lot of people’.

Knights of the Black Sun will be released from June 3rdas a digital download and from 6 June on 12” vinyl.  The track is complemented by a metal & richly gothic toned video clip by animation artist Andy Lefton and director Fin McAteer.

The single is taken from the forthcoming album Sonic Mass, due for release 26 September 2011 via Amebix Records / Easy Action.

The Knights of the Black Sun animated video clip will be available as a free HD download to accompany the digital release of the single, on presale only and will also be given as a free download card to accompany the vinyl release.

Presale links for the single are available on Profane Existence, Amebix and Easy Action websites.

http://www.easyaction.co.uk/

http://www.amebix.net/

http://www.profaneexistence.org/

June 5, 2015 By : Category : News Newsplug Tags:, , , ,
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