Third helping from ‘One-man art-pop prankster’ Alvin Spetz. Alvin Spetz is also the maverick singer-songwiter responsible for two of the most eccentric and original albums of the last 6 or 7 years.
Released under the moniker of Full English Breakfast, his self-titled debut and follow up ‘Candy In Weightlessness’ earned rave reviews from broadsheets to blogs. Now album No.3 ‘The Mixtape of Things’ is ready and Spetz likewise is moving on up through the daily nutritional cycle and this time will be known as ‘That Will Be Lunch’.
Alvin’s new mixtape is full of songs, some only just scraping past 30 seconds, that one moment remind you of children’s TV theme tunes and the next sound like they might be playing in an industrial discotheque from the future. In this unsettling but always playful landscape you’re almost half-expecting the whimsical paen to the snacks marketing division at Waitrose when it arrives in the shape of ‘The Campaign for Plain Nuts’.
Nestled amongst all the strangeness is an inspired cover of Talking Heads classic ‘One in a Lifetime’. Spetz has delved deep into the DNA of this ground-breaking track and extracted what can only be described as ‘previously unseen footage’. Like an inquisitive kid he’s taken the engine apart without a hope in hell of ever putting it back together again in the correct order. But this hasn’t stopped him re-assembling it.
Spetz discovered music while studying at Aberdeen university in the 80s. Inspired by the fledgling indie sounds of Edwyn Collins, The Fall, Josef K and The Pop Group, he embarked on a journey that’s included nascent recordings with members of The Shamen, dabbling with Sufism and the tabloids hounding him as a result, burning everything he’s ever recorded (several times) and playing one gig. Ever. In Belgium.
‘Magic Coins’ is an unexpected rhythm track that is seemingly drum and bass-inspired, written collectively by all three band members. Bromide are Simon Berridge on vocals and guitar, Ed Lush on drums, and Hugo Wilkinson on bass.
These songbirds worship at the altars of Husker Du, Teenage Fanclub, The Replacements, Guided By Voices, Dinosaur Jr., The Only Ones, Buffalo Tom and other melodic rockers equally obsessed by songs, songwriting and the euphoria associated with playing music through amplified electronic equipment.
Hailing from London, their sound has been described as "Grant Hart fronting Sebadoh" and "Elvis Costello fronting Dinosaur Jr."
Vive Le Rock noted that they mix “the best bits of The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr. replete with melancholic melodies and J Mascis-ish guitar lines".
"Bromide haven't just woken up, they're alert and more keenly ambitious than ever" **** Record Collector
"Stunning.. if no one discovers this album now it will be claimed as one of the great lost albums of the era" 8/10 Louder than War
"I Woke Up catches the London-based three-piece punching a rather large and splendid hole in the modern alt-rock landscape" 8/10 God Is In The TV
"If you like Dinosaur Jr and The Replacements, you’ll love this" 4/5 musicOMH
"A mighty fine tune from Bromide" Gideon Coe, BBC 6 Music
"Joyously scrappy punkgaze tune" The 405
Track List Side A – Magic Coins Side B – Always Now Live: Saturday 23rd March - Scratchstock at The Birds Nest, Deptford Saturday 13th April - Records Store Day alldayer at Sister Midnight Records, Deptford Thursday 18th April - The Islington (London) as support for UT Saurday 25th May - Scratchstock at The Birds Nest, Deptford
Troubadour ? Conquistador ? Or maybe a bit of both..Spanish songwriter/guitarist and screenwriter/director Rafa Russo’s travels have taken him from his native Madrid, through the folk clubs of New York and London and finally back to his homeland.
But it’s clear his spirit has only ever been in one place... Laurel Canyon. It’s in the fabled California songwriter hills of the late 60s and 70s that Rafa mines his songs and new album This Strange Place is packed full of his golden treasure.
Listen to the voice break open at the minute mark on Something Like Home and you might see a glimpse of Joni and Jackson, arm in arm over by the log cabin...Rafa started his musical career in New York in the early 1980s, playing fabled Greenwich Village clubs such as The Bitter End and Folk City.
In 1988, he moved to London. He stayed for nine years. The city was then undergoing an acoustic revival and Rafa was a regular at the capital’s many open mics such as God’s Little Joke, the Diorama and the legendary Troubadour club - this place was so acoustic that there wasn’t any amplification at all.
In London, Rafa released his first album A Petrified Forest in 1990, gaining favourable reviews from the UK press including NME: “an accomplished debut of folky, jazzy, bluesy and heartfelt mood swings.” The single from the album, Devil’s Angel, a Buddy Holly-esque pop song, made it onto both BBC Radio One and the fledgling late night television show Night Network. Support slots with Tori Amos, Melissa Etheridge, Zucchero and John Martyn followed.
And then in 1994 he was picked up by renowned British producer Mike Howlett who recorded and put out Rafa’s second album Despite Myself on the new Mauve label.
However, shortly after the release of his third album Raging Clowns (1996), things took an unexpected turn when a script Rafa had written was made into a film by Spanish director Maria Ripoll. If Only, also known as The Man With The Rain In His Shoes and Twice Upon A Yesterday was released in 1997 and featured a young Penelope Cruz. The film won Best Screenplay at the 1998 Montreal Festival and suddenly a new career was born. Music then had to take a backseat…until now.
Tracklisting: 1. Half A Chance 2. Beautiful Stranger 3. Something Like Home 4. Grey 5. Throwaway Days 6. Summertime 7. Empty Chair 8. Windshielded Sky 9. On The Side 10. You Crossed My Mind 11. The Beginning Of The End 12. Where Do You Go
In 2015 London-based Bromide got their electric shoes back on with new bass player Hugo Wilkinson joining long-term collaborators, singer-guitarist Simon Berridge and drummer Ed Lush.
The resulting album ‘I Remember’ was described by Vive Le Rock as mixing “the best bits of The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr replete with melancholic melodies and J Mascis-ish guitar lines" and won news fans including Gideon Coe on BBC6 who dubbed their single ‘Mr. Ciccone’s Daughter’ “Fantastic !” and played it for several months at the end of 2016.
Another vital piece of the puzzle had also fallen into place as they’d found producer Brian O’Shaughnessy at Bark Studios who seamlessly welded their pop onto their rock and last year the band returned to Bark to record their sixth album ‘I Woke Up’.
Again stuffed full of pop delights struggling to reach the 3 minute mark such as ‘Two Song Slot’, the story of a disastrous open-mic encounter turning into a last minute victory and ‘Tale To Tell’ a conscience-pricked near perfect example of the Bromide sound written in the studio while recording, the album also sees the band begin to stretch their wings a bit.
‘Magic Coins’ has an unexpected almost drum and bass inspired rhythm track while album closer and title track ‘I Woke Up’ is a 6 minute Doorsian odyssey. The song began life as a response to the biopic ‘Mr. Turner’ and in particular the scene in the film where the painter is tied to a mast in order to experience the full force of a nocturnal storm.
Starting with Berridge’s Glenn Branca inspired intro Lush and Wilkinson then latch on a full-on krautrock groove to build the track through to an epic conclusion complete with thunder, rain and anything else lying round the studio.
Elsewhere Patti Smith’s ‘Dancing Barefoot’ is given a thorough work out plus there are contributions from the rhythm section with Lush writing the music for both ‘I’ll Never Learn’ and ‘Always Now’ while Wilkinson provides a breath of fresh air in proceedings with the instrumental ‘Futurist Shore Leave’.
With ‘I Woke Up’ Bromide have firmly fixed the songwriter onto the band and vice-a-versa. As one recent twitter live review summed up “They rock hard but the tunes come first: like Elvis Costello fronting Dinosaur Jr” Ain’t gonna argue with that.
Tracklisting: 1. Tale to Tell 2. ’ll Never Learn 3. Two Song Slot 4. The Guide 5. Magic Coins 6. Ancient Rome 7. Futurist Shore Leave 8. Postcard From Leipzig 9. Dancing Barefoot 10. Always Now 11. Woke Up
First 'Scratchy Singles Club' release on limited edition pink vinyl for Record Store Day
'I like Taylor Swift too and I don't care what you think.. bit of an instant classic'John Kennedy, Radio X
'A chunk of pop-rock with a dash of humour.. Reminds me of Fountains of Wayne" Gary Crowley, BBC London
“A golden voice” - Consequence Of Sound
I Like Taylor Swift is a sub-3-minute powerpop rock’n’roll anthem channelling the licks of Fountains Of Wayne and Weezer which tells of Coach Hop brainchild Charlie Laurence’s ‘fondness’ for the Country Queen Pop Music Maven, Taylor Swift, using a tongue-in-cheek humour that’s more disarming than it is distracting.
On the surface, I LikeTaylor Swift is a lovesong to the titular popstar but upon closer inspection, is an observation on the state of the modern music industry, “In the song I admit I haven’t really listened to much of her music but I’m inundated with images and stories about her” says Charlie. Throughout the song it verges on an admission that it’s not cool to like Taylor Swift but in his trademark style, Charlie doesn’t care what anyone else thinks, as he sings “I like Taylor Swift and I don’t care who knows it, it’s not a guilty pleasure, it’s just a normal pleasure.”
The accompanying video is a ‘state of the art’ animated affair using techniques that are an industry first, produced by Charlie’s brother, and BBC Creative’s Head of Design Lawrence Honderick and Sam Humphries.
The release’s B-side; Everything’s Fine is a subversive and evocative social commentary that expresses Charlie’s acerbic wit and lookon life with the lyric: “They say every cloud has a silver lining but I'm not a believer. I'm not gonna be bitter about it, but I don't have to be happy about it either. Everything's fine, and nothing's gonna be alright.”