BBC KENT RADIO SHOW – 13th November

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Here’s this week’s hour long BBC Kent radio show rounding up the best new releases & reissues. – available to Listen Again on the BBC iPlayer until 7th December 2016

Chi Mai. – Milva
Wiserway – Pavo Pavo
Save Me – Harleighblu & Starkiller
The World’s Smiling Now – Jim James
Cries After Making Love – Jonny Fritz
Head Home – Midlake
Nine Times Along – Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker
Rye Grass Waltz – Naim Amor & John Convertino
On Your Side – Aaron Lee Tasjan
Right Before Your Own Eyes – Tim Easton
Harbor Country – Lambchop
I’m Not In Love – Song Sung

Under the influence of the Beach Boys

Rather lovely mix of Brian Wilson/Beach Boys influenced tunes old & new put together by James Kemp. It’s a summer thing. Enjoy.

CORNELIUS – FANTASMA
APPLES IN STEREO – II. MORNING BREAKS (AND ROOSTERS COMPLAIN)
DR. DOG – MT. SLIPPERY
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE – GUYS EYES
THE TOKENS – STEREO
THE SUPERIMPOSERS – THE BEACH (INSTRUMENTAL)
THE GIANT JELLYBEAN COPOUT – LOOK AT THE GIRLS
BULLION – TIME FOR US ALL TO LOVE
THE AVALANCHES – PABLO’S CRUISE
DINOSAUR JR – TAKE A RUN AT THE SUN
THE SUNRAYS – BETTER BE GOOD TO ME
DON & THE GOODTIMES – I COULD BE SO GOOD TO YOU
HARMONY GRASS – SUMMER DREAMING
THE HIGH LLAMAS – SPARKLE UP
PANDA BEAR – SURFER’S HYMN
THE BESNARD LAKES – THE SPECTER
WE ARE CATCHERS – WHERE ARE WE?
THE MORNING BENDERS – SLEEPING IN
MARK ERIC – MOVE WITH THE DAWN
BILLY NICHOLLS – IT BRINGS ME DOWN
PRIMAL SCREAM – INNER FLIGHT
TODD RUNDGREN – THERE ARE NO WORDS
GRIZZLY BEAR – REPRISE
THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF THE ALL – TUBA RYE & WILL’S SON
CHRIS RAINBOW – DEAR BRIAN

Too Slow To Disco

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Although soft rock never officially died and the term continues to maintain general application to various kinds of mellow, light rock still today, the style thrived in its purest form for about 10 years spanning most of the ’70s and the early years of the ’80s. Characterized by gentle, unimposing arrangements and lyrics focusing on love and romance,  it soon mutated into AOR, & was the sort of music they played in Hi Fi stores to display the quality of the latest smoke topped music centers. These records “sounded” great for a reason they mostly featured “jazzers” – west coast jazz session men who brought their skills & precision to the fore on cuts. Also, a lot of money was floating around the  record industry, & a lot of money was spent making these records. orchestras booked, overdubs played, guest vocalists brought in. And why?  Because if you hit pay dirt & got a hit away the jackpot was HUGE. And, of course where there is the combination of money & fledgling rock stars there is Cocaine. It’s often pondered as to the effects of cocaine on music. Rumors abound that once suggested it can influence the frequency one hears at…..hence the high end sheen which seems to be present on so many of these recordings (plus some very OTT artwork).

I fucking love Soft Rock. Tapping into this musically source was one of the main inspirations for my Guilty Pleasures brand, the first two comp releases having a sprinkling of AOR cuts. So much  of the new music I play within my weekly radio show reflects the influence of soft rock – Midlake, Haim, Gonzales, John Grant, Ariel Pink, Jonathan Wilson, Haim,  Destroyer, Phoenix & of course Daft Punk.  Then there’s the never ending source of edits,most of which can be found here, AOR Disco. And now, Berlin based DJ Marcus Liesenfeld has gone all the way & come up trumps with a stunning set “Too Slow To Disco”, within which he reveals the true gems in the crown. He explains, “As you know, once musical genres get old the best parts still shine through, and this collection is a delectable document of this forgotten phase of the mid-70s West Coast music world. We’ve unearthed some of the lesser-known but still beautiful mood music of this period, by people who were often still starting out, or would write their biggest hits years later, but who surfed the West Coast wave penning some total gems.”
This is the best compilation of the year so far. Here’s three choice cuts to get you excited.

Robbie Dupree – Steal Away

16 Steal Away

Alessi Brothers – Do You Feel It ?

Photoglo – Steal Away

08 Photoglo – Steal Away

 

All Back To Mine mix – Seahawks

Here’s an exclusive mix put together by Seahawks featuring their ‘sounds of paradise’….’when we get there we hope it sounds something like this’. The mix features alternative versions of tracks from their new album ‘Paradise Freaks’ (out on May 5th) along with sonic pearls from Deuter, Mick Karn, The Velvet Underground and others. Breathe in and go deep……….

Seahawks – Land of Shadows Dancing

Stephen Halpern – Seventh Chakra keynote B

Don Slepian – Awakening

Mick Karn – Weather The Windmill

Oneohtrix Point Never – Andro

Jurgen Muller – Beyond The Tube

Seahawks – Deepstar Dive

Emeralds – Now You See Me

Suzanne Ciani – Lixivation

Brain Machine – Massive Dying Stars Vibrating Like Giant Speakers

Sven Libaek – Peaceful Landscape

Jean Luc Ponty – Ethereal Mood

Seahawks – Soft Opening

Deuter – Meadows and Mystics

The Velvet Underground – New Age (Seahawks Wonder Valley Remix)

Seahawks – Sky Is You Too

Suzanne Ciani – Eighth Wave

Cover to Cover – Harry Nilsson

nilssonOnce upon a time Harry Nilsson wanted to call one of his later 70′s albums “God’s Greatest Hits”, whilst there was an element of mickey taking going on, he wasn’t far off. Both Lennon & McCartney declared him to be their favorite American artist & group. His songs are so good that they translate into genres diverse as soft rock, jazz , & alternative dance. The irony of it all was the two songs he will always be remembered by are written by others – Everybody’s Talkin’ & Without You. This mix has been inspired by my recent reading of the brilliant biog “Nilsson” by Alyn Shipton. Enjoy.

   One – Aimee Mann
Don’t Leave Me, Baby     – Astrud Gilberto
The Wailing of the Willow – Fred Astaire
Open Your Window – Ella Fitzgerald
Sin Ella (Without Her) – José José
Turn On Your Radio – Marc Cohn
I Guess the Lord Must Be In New York City – Mystic Moods Orchestra
Together – Sandie Shaw
1941 – Jenny O.
Paradise – The Ronettes
Story of Rock and Roll – The Turtles
This Could Be the Night – The Modern Folk Quartet
The Puppy Song – Mary Hopkin
Cuddly Toy – Hal
Best Friend – Puppet
Daddy’s Song – The Monkees
The Rainmaker – The 5th Dimension
Mournin’ Glory Story – Jennifer Trynin
Ten Little Indians – The Yardbirds
Jump Into the Fire – LCD Soundsystem

All Back To Mine mix – Damien Jurado

Really chuffed to bring you this exclusive All Back To Mine mix from an artist I’m a very big fan of, although I’ve arrived at the joys of Damien Jurado very late in the day.  His solo career began during the mid-1990s, releasing lo-fi folk based recordings on his own cassette-only label, Casa Recordings. Gaining a local cult following in Seattle, he was brought to the attention of Sub Pop Records who released his early records, until he switched to Secretly Canadian in 2003. It was his tenth album Saint Bartlett that first grabbed my attention, mainly because it was  produced by Richard Swift (who’s attachment to any record will always pull me in). This collaboration has gone on to deliver 3 of my favorite long players of the last few years. Folky & soulful, each album spins a fantasy filled story of pure delight. Damien’s  says of  his All Back To Mine mix   “(These are) what i consider key songs, by artists who have been essential to me, in the creative process / inspiration.” Enjoy.

Back to Stay – Bridget St John
I Hear You Calling – Bill Fay
Cadence And Cascade – King Crimson
Jerome – Jim Sullivan
U.F.O – Larry Norman
Mountains of the Moon – Grateful Dead
Franz Schubert – Kraftwerk
Bright Red – Laurie Anderson
Autumn Leaves/Just Walking In the Rain – Ray Conniff
Dust – Silver Apples
Embraceable You – Charlie Parker Quintet
Ladytron – Roxy Music
I’m Down Today – Drones
Indian Rope Man – Richie Havens-
Who Cares For The City – John Ylvisaker
Beyond and Before – Yes

 

Winter Playlist

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Each year, around this time, I find myself putting  together a playlist for the winter season which I then broadcast on my weekly radio show on BBC Kent, and this year I was asked to contribute an article on the subject of the winter song to a lovely publication called The Barefoot Diaries.   I’m a big fan of the seasonal song, they really take on a magical quality when listened to in the right context. The Summer song is very popular & always gets mass airplay on radio stations as soon as the first signs of sun come bursting through in May, but the Winter song gets a bit of a rough ride. Remember I’m not talking Christmas jollies here. The difference between summer songs & winter songs is  (without stating the bleeding obvious) like the difference between winter & summer itself. The summer song is easy to nail – beach boys layered harmonies, a lyric celebrating love in it’s many forms, softly strummed acoustic guitar, light bossa nova rhythm, intro incorporates the sound of the ocean lapping on the shore &  the mood is joyful & carefree. now let’s examine the winter song – a lone voice sings sings of love lost & cold lonely nights, the instrumentation is sparse & the rhythm  slow to non existent, there are no sound effects to draw on to evoke the mood – the sound of snow falling anyone? melancholy & solitude rules the track. Not quite the mood most radio shows strive to create, but I’m a bit of a sucker for these tunes.

I’ve put together a playlist of thirty of my favorite winter tunes which travels from folk, soul, indie, electronic, disco & all points in between. Download here.  Below are 5 of my particular favorites.

Winter Melody – Donna Summer
Summer (sic) was the queen of soft core disco, though this song is strictly speaking a soul ballad. The song represented the “winter” phase of her 1978 concept album, Four Seasons Of Love and speaks of a woman struggling to come to terms with the fact that her relationship has ended. It sort of rips my heart out every time i hear it, I don’t know of another tune steeped in so much melancholy.
2-21 Winter Melody

Winter Home Disco (Hot Chip Remix) – The Pictish Trail
Johnny Lynch is a Scottish musician who performs under the pseudonym The Pictish Trail. This is a song whose message is quite clear – it’s too cold to go out, so make your own disco at home!! originally released on  icy – clear vinyl, the remix by Hot Chip plays with cliche of the winter song & adds sunshine drenched steel drums into the equation, giving you the feeling of euphoric warmth whilst dancing at your very own home disco.

2-01 Winter Home Disco (Hot Chip Remix) 1

While The Cold Winter Waiting – Trentemøller
Anders Trentemøller is a Danish electronic producer, dj and multi-instrumentalist  who draws from sources such as techno, kraut-rock, shoegaze, folk, classical and soundtracks. This song from his 2007 album The Last Resort is a beautiful magical tune with some gentle sounds, acoustic percussion and sonic manipulations to spice things up. with a frosty, glockenspiel-laced ambience. It sounds a bit like the music that Santa  would play in his Santa-mobile heading home from a hard nights work as dawn is breaking on Christmas morning

1-05 While the Cold Winter Waiting

White Winter Hymnal -  Fleet Foxes
Taken from the 2008′s debut lp by the Seattle 5 piece, This chorale roundelay about a school trip to the woods in winter is just 52 words and two-and-a-half minutes long. Songs don’t get tinier, but Fleet Foxes pack their miniature tale with an eerie plot (“I was following the pack/ All swallowed in their coats/ With scarves of red tied ’round their throats”) repeated with slightly more instrumental oomph in each of the three verses and sung in the sweetest of Beach Boys inflected four-part harmonies. It’s a cold song on every level.

02 White Winter Hymnal

Winter – The Rolling Stones
Here they were in sunny Jamaica, recording their 1973 long player Goat’s Head Soup,  and the Stones were writing and recording an entirely convincing and evocative picture of a Northern Hemisphere winter. Perhaps they were so happy to be escaping the season they felt that starting the sessions with “Winter” could transition them out of the old and into the new climate. Though it bemoans many of the negatives of the season [in the] lyrics… “Winter” seems to simultaneously celebrate the season as something inherently beautiful, with other evocations of holiday scenes and wanting to wrap a coat and keep a lover warm.

08 Winter (Remastered 2009)

 

New Release : Colorama – Heaven’s Hotel

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Lovely new EP just arrived, ‘Heaven’s Hotel’ on  AED Recordson from Colorama

It’s produced by Carwyn Ellis & Mason Neely (whose worked with the likes of Lambchop & Sufjan Stevens.

There are 5 brand new tracks on the EP.  All tracks were recorded in Cardiff at Colorama HQ. As with all Colorama releases they draw on many musical styles including – 70s Relaxation, Nashville Beat, Ambient Punk, Cinematopoeia, Soultronica and Electro Vaudeville. Something for everyone then!
There’s also two shows to mark this release: on Thursday February 27th, at Gullivers on Oldham Street in Manchester, and on Sunday March 2nd, &  The Three Kings in Clerkenwell, London.

Look out for a Colorama ‘All Back To Mine’ mix coming soon

Colorama – Brother

05 Brother

Colorama – Heaven’s Hotel

02 Heaven’s Hotel

Cover to Cover – Witchi Tia To

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Many years ago I was introduced to a song called Witcha Tai To by a mate of mine Simon Dine. The version he played me was by  soft rock harmony group Harpers Bizarre. I feel under the spell of this incredible record instantly, & it soon became a big favorite on my late night radio show, often inspiring listeners to contact the show asking more details.  I didn’t have that many (this was pre Google), Simon had burnt the track onto c.d. but I didn’t even know who wrote it. Then I found a 7 inch version by a band called Everything Is Everything from 1969, composer listed as J. Pepper.  Jim Pepper was of Native American descent. He came from a family of “road men”, the peyote priests of the Native American Church. Peyote being the small cactus plant  known for its psychoactive properties when ingested (i think you know where this is going).  He was also a jazz saxophonist, playing primarily tenor sax. In the mid ’60s Pepper began experimenting with mixing Native American music and jazz. “Witchi Tai To” is a prime example of that blending, taking a peyote song he’d learned from his grandfather and putting it in a jazz setting.   The  song is very simple in all it’s elements. It’s that simplicity and the spiritual intent behind the words that gives the song it’s power. The  words are untranslatable now – Pepper said his grandfather never did tell him what they meant in English – but he sings them anyway, and adds English lyrics which emphasize the roots in the peyote ritual, especially speaking of the Water Spirit, who carries the visions brought by the peyote.

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Water Spirit feelin’ springin’ round my head
Makes me feel glad that I’m not dead

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

Witchi tai to, gimee rah
Hoe rah neeko, hoe rah neeko
Hey ney, hey ney, no way

I soon discovered many other versions that had been recorded over the years. Straddling musical genres from jazz to prog to folk, even the Supremes where rumored to have had a crack at it (if you have this please …..).  Tim Gane from Sterolab, was another Withci Tai To fan & kindly burnt me a c.d. of his band doing it live (which i then lost !!!!!).
One of the listeners who rung me whilst I was on air after playing it was  dj Andrew Weatherhall, who tracked down a copy & shared it the other dj legend, Ashley Beadle…who was then in the chart topping dance trio X-Press 2, who then went & housed it up & brought in Tim DeLaughter from the Polyphonic Spree to provide the vocal.

So here’s a small selection of the tune which makes me want dive into it’s spiritual waters & float downstream.

Witchi Tai To (Original) – Everything Is Everything

2-15 Witchi Tai To (Original)

Witchi Tai To (Invocation) – Paul Winter Consort

06 Witchi Tai To (Invocation)

Witchi Tai To (Sunshine Pop) – Harpers Bizarre

14 Witchi-Tai-To (Sunshine Pop)

Witchi Tai To (Raga) – Brewer & Shipley

07 Witchi-Tai-To (Raga)

Witchi Tai To (Jazz) – Maurizio Camardi

11 Witchi Tai To (Jazz)

Witchi Tai To (Easy) – The John Schroeder Orchestra

43 Witchi Tai To (Easy)

Witchi Tai To (Piano Ballad) – A.J. Webber

05 Witchi-Tai-To (Folk)

Witchi Tai To (Indie) – BMX Bandits

2-02 Witchi Tai To (Indie)

Witchi Tai To (Chant) – Jim Pepper

Witchi Tai To (Chant)

Witchi Tai To (Pipes) – Pete Wyoming Bender

01 Witchi Tai To (Pipes)

Witchi Tai To (Alt.) – Future Pilot A.K.A

03 Witchi Tai To (Alt.)

Witchi Tai To (Sitar) – Oregon

09 Witchi-Tai-To (Sitar)

Witchi Tai To (House) – X-Press 2

01 Witchi Tai to (House)