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.
Debut LP from punk rock classical pianist raised on Rachmaninov and Lou Reed.
‘Feeling a little concerned, I went to see a good good friend, It was by her curtain that I started to go round that bend’
..so Bristolian singer-songwriter Jonny Velon recounts on lead track ‘The White Rabbit’ as an insistent piano riff reminiscent of Ben Folds Five pulls us along and Jonny steps through the looking glass.
Our journey begins..
Over the next eight tracks (eleven on the cd) he ventures across a lush earworm-infested terrain trying to make sense of his life and his surroundings in the midst of mental breakdown.
It’s a fascinating ride with any number of different drivers at the controls including ‘Arc of a Diver’- era Steve Winwood, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie (be-suited crooner version) and a largely forgotten 70s songwriter, Murray Head whose 1975 album ‘Say It Ain’t So’ this record could easily be twinned with. In fact we pass through so many countries that you wonder if Michael Palin might be driving.
There’s funky tropical horns all over the place, especially on ‘I Am Always Me’; the transcendental Indian influences of ‘The White City’; a heat haze shimmering intro to ‘Travelling’ that could have fallen straight off the cult film ‘Baraka’ and back in Blighty piano traffic jams rocking ‘The Cambridge Squeeze’.
At every turn there’s another turn as Jonny and an array of talented musicians twist in and out of musical styles, all woven seamlessly into his own autobiographical prog diary.
Imagine a store where both Field Music and Steve Reich might like to shop and there’s a good chance you’ll find Mr Velon trying on a few syncopated rhythms in the changing room. If music is a personal statement, here is his and ten years on from that day in his friend’s room at Cambridge University where life took an unexpected turn he’s now rounded the corner back onto the straight and is clearing all the life fences with ease. Go Jonny go !
"At times reminiscent of Roxy Music, and at others David Bowie and Steve Winwood.. a varied, inventive, album rammed with emotional triggers and a genuine depth" Whisperin & Hollerin
Tracklisting: Vinyl: Side A: 1. The White Rabbit 2. I Am Always Me 3. The White City 4. Overwhelming Stillness
Side B: 1. Goodness Flows 2. The Cambridge Squeeze 3. Travelling 4. High As A Kite
Tracklisting CD: 1. The White Rabbit 2. The Cambridge Squeeze 3. I Am Always Me 4. The White City 5. Overwhelming Stillness 6. Goodness Flows 7. Heart & Mind 8. Travelling 9. A Green Lesson 10. High As A Kite 11. Eternal
Vinyl includes free download code with 3 additional tracks
Limited edition 'cassingle' from the album 'I Remember'
Unrequited love. Madonna.
This isn’t actually a song about un-requited love for Madonna. Her Madgesty did however have a role to play. Simon, singer of London noise pop 3-piece Bromide explains..
“Rewind to the early ‘90s. I think it was midweek.. probably about 9pm ? I was on my way home in a cab - which in itself was unusual. Where did I get the money ? Was there a tube strike ? Anyway the urge suddenly overtook me to find out once and for all if there was anything more to a long-standing friendship with my friend Clare. I knew we were quite close to her flat in Westbourne Grove so I asked the cabbie to change direction.
Rang the buzzer. Flatmate says she’s in the bath. Oh gawd.. I go in and wait. It feels like I’m at the Doctor’s.. Clare appears and breaks the news to me that whatever it is that has brought me here will have to wait as.. Madonna is about to be interviewed on TV by Jonathon Ross. What ?? Really.. Noww ?? How come I didn’t know about this Amazingly Important Fact ? And yes, yes of course I can wait a bit longer. It really is no problem !
After about an hour including adverts, I finally get my chance to speak.. 'I, ahem, err… think that I, cough, err, y’know err.. Love.. You..' I splutter with a kind of question mark phrasing. She says ‘I thought you were going to say that’..and we’ve been great friends ever since.
Sometimes you know you know but you still just have to actually y’know.. Know.
B-side, I Don’t Want To Get Over You, is a Stephen Merritt gem from Magnetic Fields ‘69 Love Songs’. Both tracks from Bromide album ‘I Remember’ produced by Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream, MBV).
“Fantastic!” Gideon Coe BBC6 Music
“Like Teenage Fanclub on speed” RockClubUK
"Glorious Bromide single that gleefully resurrects the 90s with a Lemonheads-meets-Teenage Fanclub embrace"'Kara Manning WFUV New York
Tracklisting: 1. Mr. Ciccone's Daughter 2. I Don't Want To Get Over You
‘Darkly comic and melodic little songs for your horror and amusement’ In 2010, after 5 years writhing and screaming in cabaret/rock band Hooverville, Joey Herzfeld strapped on an accordion and gathered together an impressive array of so-called friends to deliver his nasty but melodic little ditties with a more acoustic lineup. ‘..Are Watching You’ is their debut album, a collection of dark and funny tales of hangings, heartbreak, stalkers and lechers all interspersed with foot-stomping instrumentals.
Highlights include "Great Again", the story of a failed writer with lofty intentions stalking a famous novelist, "Maggie Dickson", where a woman somehow survives hanging, then sets up a thriving pub overlooking the gallows, and "Cracks", a surprisingly swinging take on modern hermitism whose apocalyptic finale gives the band full licence to let rip.
Joey has long been something of an anomaly in the North London music scene, honing traditional song-craft while playing with more experimental musicians. So here amidst the rye banjo licks and folk fiddle we find the best and brightest of the Stoke Newington / Walthamstow avant garde.
There are cheery clarinet tootlings from Alex Ward, best known for his boundary shredding free improv and noise rock, anchored double bass and keys from Santiago Horro and Luke Barlow, both members of ear-melting math rock band Nought, and springy drums from Jem Doulton of the Thurston Moore Band and Roisin Murphy.
All of the above have been playing challenging and unpredictable music together for years in every conceivable combination, but here rub shoulders with players from more grounded folk traditions. So, if pithy twisted storytelling accompanied by a circus of wheezing accordion, twanging banjo, gypsy fiddle, wailing clarinet plus an occasional smattering of surf guitar, toy piano, spooky organ, musical saw, glockenspiel, mandolin, ukulele, scronking sax, scrap metal and cutlery (breathe..) intrigues your musical palate, please take a seat at the ringside..
‘Their extraordinarily different sound, great musicianship and stage presence alienated half the crowd and transfixed the rest. Were they mental or brave musical pioneers?’ The Londonist
‘Circus sideshow malarkey’ Drowned in Sound
‘Intriguing fare’ NME
Tracklisting: 1. Great Again 2. Tightrope 3. Elsewhere 4. Half -Hanged Maggie Dickson 5. Girl Won't You Dance? 6. Charge of the Centipedes 7. Life in the city 8. Secret Admirer 9. Ugliness 10. Seedy 11. Mayfly 12. Cracks 13. End of the Set
Music. What is it good for ? Maybe music starts where words finish.
We spend our lives absorbed by thoughts, experiences, emotions. Sometimes we can translate these into words, sometimes we need something more. Something.. other. We need sound.
Sound hotwires us direct to the soul. There are no diversions, no double meanings. There is only the purity of sound. Over a lifetime we become a living record of these sounds, a collection of sensory triggers that will transport us back in time to moments of joy, despair and everything in between.
‘I Remember’ is a collage of some of these moments. Of dancing with joy just because, of feeling the clouds draw in on a relationship, of becoming aware of music, of love. And ultimately of the realisation that there is no answer and all the roads are yellow bricked. As the song says..‘we’re just painting the bruises of our heads against the wall’.
The single is the title track from Bromide’s new album ‘I Remember’ produced by legendary producer Brian O’Shaughnessy (Primal Scream, MBV). It comes with two unreleased tracks – ‘Lovely New York’ an acoustic cover of a song by the late Tarka Cordell, former school bandmate of Bromide singer Simon Berridge and ‘Treasure Map’ the demo version of a track from previous Bromide album ‘Some Electric Sometime’.
Tracklisting: 1. I Remember 2. Lovely New York 3. Treasure Map (Demo)
"Bromide mix the best bits of The Lemonheads and Dinosaur Jr replete with melancholic melodies and J Mascis-ish guitar lines"Vive Le Rock
"‘I Remember’ is a brisk, snappy affair, which combines super-melodicism with athletic, abrasive guitars. Berridge’s confessional lyrics pull off the double feat of being both refreshingly down-to-earth and also angular at the same time" pennyblackmusic.co.uk