mp3 time again and being the first selection of the new year there's loads to get through, culminating in grab-bags from two of our favourite labels, so hold tight.
Between about 1977 and 1981, deep in the underground of weekly music paper classifieds, a cassette only scene of shabbily recorded but hugely charming bedroom bands took hold under the genre label 'messthetics' - Bob Stanley, who out of all indie pop's men of words was always the most likely to eventually document it, wrote about it for the Guardian in 2006. We wonder if Stanley or such DIY "it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it" provocateurs have come across Internet Forever yet, because the Laura Wolf/Heartbeeps 'super''group' are very much in that image. We've posted a track of theirs before but they've been sending out a home recorded 'live' EP, their live formation now swelled to a trio, to whoever wanted one so it was the least we could do to showcase them again. Back then we described them as "a Los Campesinos! affected by the credit crunch"; in this format, recorded through a suction hose as it may sound, the distorted references to Times New viking and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone come equally to the fore. Yes. Their debut single arrives in April.
Internet Forever - Pages of Books (live)
Blacklands is essentially one Al Murphy, who formerly traded as Murphy Kid & The Bad Luck Band where "shared the same bill as Bob Dylan", whatever that entails. Under this new guise he and his band have played with Alessi's Ark and Sons Of Noel And Adrian and took to the Yorkshire Moors to record the Beware The Moon EP, released tomorrow on neednowater Records (they put on the Kick The Plug nights at the Wilmington Arms, Clerkenwell, which has recently played host to STN favourites Superman Revenge Squad, Kat Flint and Stars Of Sunday League) The sound is very sparse, very folky and very delicate, the sort of thing you'd expect to be made after dark in a Moors farmhouse.
Blacklands - Come Sad Light Of Dawn
Someone else we've briefly mentioned before is Muddy Suzuki, and his second album Meetoo is out on the 26th. We say 'his' as it's a one man operation - we've remarked before on how it is that members of the Electric Soft Parade always have plenty going on besides, and drummer Damo Waters is no exception. As well as gigs at the back for Restlesslist, The Voluntary Butler Scheme, Chris T-T and Jim Bob (yes, from Carter USM) Waters works under what we called "Andy Partridge-inflected compact prog-pop", but his horizons even given that fairly wide-ranging scope have broadened to variously encompass Cardiacs-esque rollercoaster English pop being shaken vigorously, shimmering adult contemplation, glitch beats, charging power-pop and the odd ambient soundscape. It's a very fine album and another testament to Drift Records as a home for artists of quality and distinction.
Muddy Suzuki - D-Punk/Shimmering
And now we're going to take a complete liberty with label and site alike as we waste the bandwidth of Americana resource Fresh Deer Meat. Last month Drift gave them a set of album tracks and exclusives from the pick of their roster, and these are they:
Cottonmouth Rocks - Cheap Thrills: Johny and Sally of Thirty Pounds Of Bone introduce Royal Trux/Kills two-piece dark road movie griminess to 'other'
Le Reno Amps - Airwaves: Glaswegians with a natty line in alt-country power-pop
Matt Eaton - Going My Way: Actress Hands leader turns big country balladeer, with Rose Elinor Dougall on backing vocals
The R.G. Morrison - Virginia (South Coast Remix): Drift's co-founder debuts his forthcoming sophomore album with Elliott Smith-recalling haunted storytelling Americana
Thirty Pounds Of Bone - The Jonah Shanty: openers of The Class Of '09, this folk balladeering is from their forthcoming And They Go Down To It In Ships EP
Thomas White - The Emerald Tree: two solo albums planned in 2009, and this from the first of those picks up where the smoky psych of I Dream Of Black left off.
Myspaces: Cottonmouth Rocks, Le Reno Amps, Matt Eaton, The R.G. Morrison, Thirty Pounds Of Bone, Thomas White
And while we're about it, let's raid the carefully stored catalogue of another offbeat folk label we've supported. Song, By Toad Records is based in Edinburgh and run by the same person who does the blog of the same name. Their first large scale release, Meursault's Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues, finished 16th in our end of year list and, rather more pleasingly surprisingly, was number 46 in the UK blogger poll. Meursault we'll come back to later in the week, but Song, By Toad has more where that came from:
Eagleowl: slow-burning, gorgeously emotional lo-fi folk collected on mini-album For The Thoughts You Never Had.
Nightjar: Applachian bluegrass and delicate folk from a collective featuring Kris Drever and former members of Aberfeldy. From the album The Moth Trap.
Poor Man's Son
Lady Of The Calico
Rob St John: intricately arranged pastoral folk with a genuine, heartfelt edge. EP Like Alchemy is available through his Myspace.
A Red Heron