Welcome to the first instalment of the Electone Records blogs for 2014. Hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and New Year! Without further a do, lets look at what’s been cooking these past few weeks and what exciting musical ventures are on the horizon.
A band previously mentioned to keep an eye out for was The Levons. They recently played an absolute stormer of a set at The Baltic Social, proving they are heads and shoulders above most bands on the scene already. From the first Zeppelin-esque distorted riff of ‘Stop These Games’ through to some soon to be toe tapping classics, before finishing with the infectious ‘Ain’t Enough Days’ leaving the audience hanging on every note with Lightning Seeds leader Ian Broudie taking in the acts, with a number of other prominent Liverpool musicians in the audience.
Welcome to the second instalment of the Electone RecordsBlog. This week we’re having a look at more new acts we’ve come across, paying our respects and sharing what’s been turning our ears on record wise.
To start, we were truly excited to unveil our first club nights earlier this month kicking off in Glasgow and Liverpool in December both launching the Red Sands self-titled debut album due out December 9th on Electone Records. Electone have hand-picked some great new talent for both events kicking off our club nights showcasing the best of what both Liverpool and Glasgow have to offer and what to keep an eye out for in 2014. More on the club nights shortly…
Since the last blog, a lot of us here at Electone Records were sad to hear of the passing of Lou Reed at the age of 71. From his time with The Velvet Underground and a successful solo career to boot, a perfect summary of the man’s songwriting influence was ‘although The Velvet Underground never sold many albums, everyone who heard those records started bands…’
With the sad passing of Reed, hopefully his legacy can live on, as more delve into his rich back catalogue, I for one have had the Velvet’s debut ‘…& Nico’on repeat for the last few weeks before his passing but now songs like ‘Heroin’, ‘Who Loves The Sun’ and ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ becoming all the more sorrowful.
At the time of writing, two of Reed’s songs, ‘Perfect Day’ and ‘Walk On The Wild Side’ were set to re-enter the charts. Arctic Monkeys covered the latter at their recent headline gig at the Liverpool Echo Arena with guest guitarist and ex-Coral man Bill Ryder-Jones (see below). I’ll always now associate ‘Perfect Day’ with the day Margaret Thatcher died and the celebrations that took place in Sound, Food & Drink. What a day that was for the Liverpool people!
New acts and cuts to keep an eye out for is The Coral guitarist Lee Southall and vocalist Molly Tilston’s Northern Sky. With album sessions taking place at Real World Studios, they’ve been previewing snippets of tracks from their upcoming debut album, with ‘Painted Lady’ sounding majestic, leaving us wanting more, with an ensemble featuring Steve Tilston and Maggie Boyle, amongst others.
In other Coral member news, keys man Nick Power turns writer, releasing ‘Small Town Chase’, with visual collaborations with artist Low Coney, forms a collection of Power’s lyrics and poems, all about life on the outskirts of the city. Expect teenage boredom, drugs, love, and of course – inter-dimensional cement mixers. Click here to visit Nick’s Facebook page.
Another Electone Records favourite Edgar Summertyme, the former Stairs frontman and all round Scouse cosmic legend releases his follow up to last year’s fantastic ‘Sense Of Harmony’ album as well as The Big Kids & Isrites unreleased sessions compilation, with a return to his Stairs roots with ‘Morphic Fields’ released on The Viper Label last week. Click here for the details.
Another album to keep an eye out for is ‘The Optical Sound of The Hypnotic Eye’ by The Hypnotic Eye, who Electone first stumbled upon during their support slot on The Wicked Whispers tour last year, as well as supporting The Strypes in Amsterdam, with their 60s fuzzed guitar led single ‘Satisfaction’, with a storming set led by mesmerizing front woman Annie Bea.
Another cut is via Alan McGee’s 359 Label, with Canadian-born, London-dwelling Tess Parks’ limited 7’ single release ‘Somedays’ sounding like an intoxicated Velvet Underground & Nico track, and with an album ‘Blood Hot’ pencilled in for a November 25th release date, Tess seems to be the hottest act at the moment for the label. Expect dark smoke rings and loud guitars. Tess plays District in Liverpool on December 6th, at McGee’s own club night.
Another new favourite comes from Pete Wilkinson’s Aviator. After catching an intimate show at Filthy McNasty’s in London last year, I’ve kept and eye and an ear out, and after a well-received support slot with The Tea Street Band at their recent sold out Zanzibar show, the Cast/Shack/Red Elastic Band bassist releases the 7” ‘Desolation Peaks’, released on Eighties Vinyl Records, with artwork supplied by former La’s and Onset front man and artist Mike Badger.
Other selected tracks this week come from The City Walls, on the back of their solid performance in support of their fantastic latest EP release ‘Homefires’ at Bold Street’s Leaf Tea shop, swirling guitars and fantastic harmonies with fantastic support in the form of The Hummingbirds, cosmo rockers Sugarmen and Red Sails.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Op36HH6ePI0
Other tracks on our playlist this week are Southern, featuring siblings Thom & Lucy Southern, hailing from Belfast, having recently made the switch to Scouse soil, hooking up with re-known Scouse producer and Lightning Seeds singer/songwriter, Ian Broudie, whose work with Liverpool bands like Echo & The Bunnymen, The Pale Fountains, as well as more recent works with The Coral and The Zutons, needs no introduction.
Southern have recently released their eponymous 4 track EP to rave reviews and featuring as The Guardian newspaper’s new band of the day. ‘World Don’t Shine’ is a stunning introduction. Keep an ear out.
Other bands that have caught our ear of late are The Levons. Two stunning demos were recently uploaded, with ‘Ain’t Enough Days’ on repeat for the past few days. The band featuring Danny and Phil Murphy, fresh from stints with The Sand Band as well as featuring in James and Ian Skelly’s backing bands for their recent tours. Surely this is a band that will make waves on the Liverpool music scene.
It’s been a busy few weeks here at the label with The Wicked Whispers finishing up their debut album, and I was lucky enough to get a look in on a session with Mike Murphy (who is also producing the record) and Steve Powell at Track Studios last week to hear some of the tunes. The band are currently putting the final pieces together on the album tracks, many of which have evolved, with a few tracks on the highly anticipated debut album that will surprise the fans, featuring a number of live favourites and past releases re-worked. All of this as well as preparing for their Liverpool headline show at the Camp & Furnace on Friday 23rd November with support from Sankofa and Jimmy & The Revolvers.
Ahead of their hometown show at Camp and Furnace, Mike, Ste & Nathan dropped by and recorded an exclusive session with Dave Monks for his BBC introducing show.
You can hear an exclusive interview revealing more about the forthcoming debut album, the current tour dates and will playing a new acoustic track. Dave will also be playing live highlights from their fan only sold out Cavern show back in August. Listen again here.
Also coming up is the stunning line up for the first instalments of our Electone Records Club Nights, where we will be celebrating the release of the long awaited debut self-titled album from RED SANDS with a headline matinee performance from them at Broadcast in Glasgow, on the 15th December, with their album out on Monday 9th December on Electone Records.
Fellow Electone Records label mates THE WICKED WHISPERS will be doing a special stripped back acoustic set following another successful low key UK tour and taking a break from recording their debut album. The gig sees the band return to Glasgow for the second time this year after headlining Double Sight.
Also appearing will be local new talents THE DESERT WILLOWS and THE LITTLE ILLUSIONS, the line-up also includes DJs JAMO KIDD(Freak-Beats Club) and GARY O’PRAY / NICKY WRIGHT(Waterpistol)
The next instalment of our Electone Records Club Nights will be in Liverpool, on Friday 20th December at The Blade Factory, at67 Greenland Street L1 0BY. The venue a branch of the Camp & Furnace. The line-up sees a Christmas special in the form of Red Sands, who celebrate their album release on Merseyside, with support in the form of a host of local talent, the three piece rootsy 50s rockers The Romleys, the cosmic underground rock sounding The Grim Fandango, as well as Thomas McConnell, on the back of a tour supporting The Vinyls and former Icicle Works frontman Ian McNabb. DJs on the night will be in the form of Electone’s own The Wicked Whispers.
Tickets are £5 advance and a limited number of £6 tickets will be available on the door.
Just to end our picks of the best new vinyl releases, we are excited to see The Wytches new 7” ‘Robe for Juda’ on Hate Hate Hate Records released, due out December 2nd showing more promise for the band in 2014. Electone favourites Toy finally drop their brand new LP ‘Join the Dots’ on Heavenly Records December 9th and its sounding very special indeed. Beachwood Sparkes previously unreleased debut album ‘Desert Skies’ is also released in December bringing their modern LA psych sound to the masses it’s a shame this was missed so widely the first time around! Finally weve been excited for this for some time but now The Amorphous Adrodgynous finally release TheCartel volumes 1 and 2 in the latest of their Monstrous Bubble series of nostalgic remix and production exploration style records. Here we see the wizards of parallels mix the genesis of psychedelia with the explosion of the blacksploitation culture of the 70s with the likes of Curtis Mayfield. Expect great things.
Welcome to the first of the Electone Records Blogs, where I’ll be doing regular round-ups of what’s been happening, what’s coming up and what’s been turning us on here at the label and beyond.
Firstly, it’s been a busy year for The Wicked Whispers who have been recording their debut album here in Liverpool. Being produced by frontman Mike Murphy along with Steve Powell at his Track Studios(The man behind Mick Head’s fantastic new EP, more on that coming up!), and the album is sounding radically evolved from ‘The Dark Delights of..’ EP (Electone’s first sell out release) and the 2 limited edition singles, ‘Dandelion Eyes’ and ‘Voodoo Moon’.
I’ll be popping in next week to see how it’s coming along and I hear it’s almost finished, with some very special guests on the album. The band have recently played a number of UK shows to warm up the LP and to introduce new drummer Nathan Sayer, and so far getting some incredible reviews (including Shindig! Magazine, who caught their headline show at Glasgow’s Double Sight Festival).
Now all eyes are turning to their huge Liverpool event at the amazing Camp & Furnace on Saturday 23rd November with the awesome SANKOFA and JIMMY & THE REVOLVERS in support.
The Wicked Whispers’ Mike, Ste and Nathan were in session with Dave Monks for BBC Radio Merseyside this week promoting the gig and airing an exclusive new track and introducing a track from their live fan only show at The Cavern last month.
It’s been an exciting time for Electone’s newest signings RED SANDS who announced their latest single and debut album details last month. Hailing from Glasgow and already getting play from BBC Radio 2, 6Music and finding fans in Paul Weller, the band will release their debut album on Electone Records available on 12” vinyl with downloadable codes on Monday 9th December 2013.
This ties us up nicely to the exciting news of the Electone Records Club Nights which will start in December, and soon appearing across the UK which will start with a Red Sands LP launch special. More details coming soon!
Lately on the Liverpool music scene, one of most highly anticipated gigs of the year took place last week, and although I’ve only been a fan of Mick Head for the past few years now though like even his most veteran long term fans, I’ve seen him at his worst, and at his best.
After a bad end to 2011 for Mick, fast forward a year to Leaf Tea Shop, Mick Head was reincarnated yet again, with a performance of biblical proportions. Almost a year on again, and his upcoming EP, Artorious Revisited is on the tongues of Liverpool music lovers and tickets for the Red Elastic Band gig were regarded as gold dust.
Heading over to the venue with half of The Wicked Whispers in tow who have been recording their album with Mick’s producer Steve Powell at his Track Studios, who would also be performing on the night, while swapping Shack stories and experiences on the way to The Kazimier, not even the pouring rain is putting anyone down.
Ark, are the opening act for the night, with Alex Evans on vocals flanked by producer extraordinaire Steve Powell and The Springtime Anchorage’s Philip Ryan-Melville on guitars and backing vocals. The three piece provide a big sound, with Alex’s vocals at the forefront. Definitely someone to keep an eye out for.
In between acts, I overhear a punter at the bar cradling his Pale Fountains vinyl under his arm, who summed up everyone’s mood and feelings on the night, ‘he could blow us all away or leave in an ambulance, either way, I fucking love him!’
After a few chants, Mick steps out with his Red Elastic Band in tow. A quick hello and a thanks to the gathered crowd, before launching into an over an hour’s worth of classic song writing.
After a few thumbs up and nods from the band around him, they kick off with the majestic ‘Santa Fe’ set the bar for the night, the first taste of the new EP came in the form of ‘Cadiz’, sounding like a thunderbolt and a breath of fresh through a once concerned Kazimier crowd, and the delightful ‘Newby Street’ is one of the most well received songs of the night, as is ‘Lucinda Byre’ and an audience joining in with the inspired lyric of ‘you’re gonna need better wood to crucify me..’
The highlight of the gig comes as Mick thanks people for ‘answering his phone calls at 3am..’ as his daughter raises her hand as the main call receiver before a quick laugh from Mick he dedicates an incredible version of ‘The Prize’ from his 1998 album ‘Introducing The Strands’.
Mick turns to his onstage rock for the night, Cast/Shack bassist Pete Wilkinson for the final time and one whisper later the ensemble are breaking into ‘Meant To Be’ for the 2nd time of the night, as Mick thanks everyone once again for coming out and for the support, as he gazes out at the near 500 people crammed into the venue, thumbs up and arms raised all round, as the audience shout along and bounce to the trumpets, before the gig comes to a glorious end, the band departs to rapturous applause, a job well done.
Once again Michael Head has been re-incarnated, and The Red Elastic Band are with him and Mick has taken the crown for the gig of the year once again.
Another happening on the scene and another band to keep an keen eye out for is MOTIVES. Described as “a combination of 60s garage laced with subtle hints of psychedelia…” with a demo of an instant guitar classic ‘Not Your Lover’ uploaded to YouTube, things were bound to happen, and the band have recently supported The Jim Jones Revue at the East Village Arts Club as well as The Dirty Rivers at District, and are starting to turn heads. Catch them support another upcoming act Findlay, who has been touring with Jake Bugg and The Courteeners at the recently re-opened Korova on November 18th.
Some nice new 7” 45s out also over the last couple of weeks with some Electone Picks here from the label. Electone and The Wicked Whispers favourites THE SEE SEE release ‘Featherman’ (The Great Pop Supplement), the mighty VERONICA FALLS release the anticipated single ‘Broken Toy’ (Bella Union), growing cult heros WAVE PICTURES release ‘Lisbon’ (Moshi Moshi) and JOHN LENNON MCCLULAGH’S ‘North South Divide’ arrives on Alan McGee’s 359 Records.
All our picks are available from Electone’s Stockists including Probe Records, Love Music, Piccadilly Records and Rough Trade, Records London.
Coming up, look out for THE CITY WALLS new EP Launch in Liverpool at Leaf, Bold Street on Friday 1st November with HUMMINGBIRDS, SUGARMEN and RED SAILS in support. It’s going to be a great night. We will have news on Electone’s next signings, club nights and all artist updates via the usual channels as it happens.