The five thing again? Already? Five more? Again? Do we need a new editorial yet? Again and again and again (and again). Five more, same as last time (and the time before) five more musical things to explore, another five? Already? Alright already? You never did answer the question, shame about Cuffed Up last time around, where’s did we put the plot? Dive? Five? Five more pieces of earfood? Shall we do it again? Back to back to back being back to the five musical things thing and the fractured music portal yet again (and again and again) and yeah, we did say all this last week and the weeks before and blah blah blah while the whole world window and no, we never do and the proof of the pudding and all that proof reading. It doesn’t really matter if it was a television fizzing and going off and things back then when we first heard of the Window going off and things. and like we did ask last time, does anyone bother reading the editorial? Does anyone ever actually look down the rabbit hole or is it all just method acting? Cut to the chase, we could just cut ‘n paste the editorial from the last time, there’s loads of music further down the page, well five or so pieces of music, cut to the damn chase, who needs an editorial? Who needs any of this? Who needs it, who needs it, just cut to the chase…
Five musical things t ocheck out then…
1: Hamish Hawk – Now this is just a great song, Hamish Hawk presents The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973 – a song to listen to, stories, a song with a perfect serve, pass me a ballpoint pen, need to write his name down, this is a new name to these ears, just another of the many many daily press releases. that land here. Now if this was a seven inch then the arm would be pulled back so it repeated again and again, as it is I’m on the sixth repeat on YouTube. Must confess he’s not crossed our path before but then we’ve spent the last three years asleep in a town ncalled missery, or maybe locked down in a bunketr in Hackney painting and listening to obsure prog rock from South America or space rock bands from Brooklyn and testing testing how easy it would be to do whatever
The lazy cut ‘n paste of the press release….
Inspired by a visit to St Paul’s Cathedral, “The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973” is 218 emotion-packed seconds which soar as high as the Whispering Gallery and echo just as beautifully.
“The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973 is a pop song, and as such it covers all the classic pop bases, namely death, badminton, and cathedrals,” comments Hawk. “The initial idea for the song came to me when I was standing on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. I’d previously failed to notice just how colossal a structure it really is. For Christopher Wren to have designed it, and for him to have seen its construction finished in his lifetime, the thought just staggered me. Not only had he fashioned a legacy for himself, unlike no other, he was able to pay witness to his own legacy whilst he was still alive.
“I suppose it got me thinking: if I were to fashion a legacy for myself, it might well be a song. I imagined what it would sound like, and in turn, the song became a wider rumination on matters of life, family, marriage, and ultimately, death. It was a song I knew I had in me; all it took was Andy Pearson’s beautiful guitar line to squeeze the blood out the stone. It’s one of my favourites on the album, and very close to my heart.”
The accompanying video for “The Mauritian Badminton Doubles Champion, 1973” was shot at Leith Theatre and features cameos by Rod Jones, Hawk’s early mentor Kenny Anderson (King Creosote), and Dan Willson aka Withered Hand, who contributes backing vocals on ‘Heavy Elevator’ alongside Katie Buchan (aka Best Girl Athlete).
The video was produced entirely ‘in-house’ by members of Hawk’s band – it was written and edited by guitarist Andrew Pearson, who co-wrote the song, and directed by drummer Stefan Maurice. “We see Hamish die and go to Scottish Indie Heaven,” Pearson explains. “Once in heaven, he’s living the dream! Banging a shuttlecock around with our hero Withered Hand while King Creosote and Idlewild’s Rod Jones watch on. But, the dream sours, and Hamish meets a grizzly end!”
Rich of voice and even richer of imagination, Hawk creates musical pen-portraits, chamber pop songs that have swallowed both a dictionary and a compendium of modern urban (and island) fairy tales. And Hawk does all this with considerable wit, inspired by artists like Leonard Cohen, Morrissey (the olden days version), Jarvis Cocker, Randy Newman, and Stephin Merritt of Magnetic Fields.
Hawk has been making music for several years, though ‘Heavy Elevator’ marks a huge leap forward for the graduate of St Andrews University. For the first time Hawk has written with Andrew Pearson (guitars) and Stefan Maurice (keys, drums), who form the core of his band to create ten tracks packed with characters, incident, emotion, geographical/artistic references, and tunes big enough to hang your coat on. For the recording, the core writing trio were rounded out by Alex Duthie (bass) and John Cashman (keyboards).
“Heavy Elevator reads like my diary,” says Hawk of the album. “It’s just about all in there, and it goes way back. The teary-eyed losing your mum in the supermarket stuff. The awkward teenage thing. The lost twenty-something. The chance encounters, the half-remembered conversations, the witching hour panics, the hostile takeovers. There is more of me in it than any album I’ve written previously. It describes the feeling of reaching the heights you promised yourself, replaced all too often by the feeling that you’re sinking. Heavy Elevator sounded about right.”
Hamish Hawk’s videos display his literacy and creativity, while revealing him as a performer of David Byrne-like physicality and charisma. The video for “Caterpillar” was directed by Ellen De Faux of LS Productions, who was nominated for a 2021 GRAMMY as one of the producers of Harry Style’s ‘Adore You’ video. Influenced by Peter Brook’s iconic 1971 film adaptation of the Shakespeare play ‘King Lear’, in the “Calls To Tiree” video Hawk wittily channels the Fool.
Hawk met Rod Jones at the Iona Village Hall Music Festival in 2016. Jones mentioned he’d be interested in recording some sessions at his studio in Edinburgh. One session became a couple of sessions, a phone call here and there became pretty regular contact, and an acquaintance became a producer, a producer became a mentor, a mentor became a manager. Their long collaboration has resulted in ‘Heavy Elevator’, destined to be one of the most intriguing rock albums of 2021.
Some more, yep, this is that moment when you hear someone for the first time and you know you need more more more of both his words and his fine fine tunes. It would seen there’s a new album ‘Heavy Elevator’ out September 17th, more details here, and well
Do you know what it really is like? Getting up to such and such…
2: Vulpynes – Control Is Not What I Need, a delightfully confronting piece of musical angst from the the Dublin Duo’s new EP ‘Us Against Them‘. I;’m guessing this is going ot be rather empowering, that is surely a good thing? We like good things, good things are good, I imagine , back in the days when we did things like release wreckords, we’d have been on the dog and bone to to try and set something up with Vulpynes, got to love thier energy, their atitude…
3: The Gluts – Now this comes with just the right amount of rock ‘n roll swagger and a stamp or two on your favourite toes, “Milan-based group The Gluts are today sharing their new single and video ‘Love Me Do Again’, the first taste of their incoming ‘Ungrateful Heart’ album that’s due out October 8th on Fuzz Club. Whilst their previous releases traded in an explosive psychedelic noise-rock, ‘Ungrateful Heart’ sees the Italian four-piece hone in on a sound rooted in a classic 70s punk and 80s hardcore. Revealing a deceptively hedonistic side to the band”. Really not sure about that bit about 80’s hardcore, certainly not hearing that but hey, you got the music, you don’t need to joust about the words people like ne write about these things! Fire it up, play it loud, someone once said a critic is a person with the right key to open the big red door but doesn’t actually know where the big red door is and as I often say, none of you ever read any of this, you just, quite rightly, hit the play button and then the links and nothing said here matters, I could be writing about ice cream and pigeons for all you care, meanwhile The Gluts, like everyone else, have one of those damn Facebook pages and well, my work is done here, the pigeons like it, ther music I mena, not the words, they couldn’t give two hoots about the words written here.
4: More ECHT!, Great video by Toxic Motel, we’ve covered them before, “!ECHT! – an instrumental, futuristic four-piece inspired by the concepts absorbed in electronic music and musical production, combining electro, hip-hop, trap, funk and futuristic jazz, resulting in a distinct and unique sound”.
“On the 24th September, ECHT! are set to release their highly anticipated debut album ‘INWANE’ via the groove-obsessed, Gent-based label Sdban Ultra. Releasing their debut EP ‘DOUF’ in 2019, the Brussels quartet has not stopped working, recently releasing three sublime live studio sessions titled the BREWmixes which received support from tastemakers including LEFTO, Worldwide FM and Belgian national radio station Studio Brussel (StuBru)”.
“Echt means ‘vrai de vrai’ – ‘true’ or ‘real’ in brusseleir (Brabantian dialect of Brussels). The name is a direct reference to the fact that their sound transmission is ‘real’, performed with conventional musical instruments as oppose to computer music which the production might suggest. It also relates to the fact that none of the members of the band are originally from Brussels – bassist Federico Pecoraro is from Italy, keyboardist Dorian Dumont is from France and drummer Martin Méreau and guitarist Florent Jeunieaux are both from the Mons region on Belgium. “For our first album, we wanted to go into deeper beats. We were listening a lot to trap, gritty hip-hop & bass music, and we tried to emulate those kinds of beats on our instruments. The darkish mood of those music genres was fitting for us with this strangest year of 2020. But we also wanted to give a contrast with some brighter parts, where the human feeling is more present. This duality continued in the mixing process by pushing or destroying some sounds, adding electronic textures & effects, but also keeping some sounds really acoustic & organic. The result is for us a mature album: the feeling of electronic music emulated on instruments is confirmed but the human vibe stays central.”
5: Gustaf are are back with more, we did, for what it all be worth, feature the New York a few weeks back, they’ve announce details of their debut album now, Audio Drag For Ego Slobs is apparently out on October 1st, on Royal Mountain Records
“Formed in 2018, Brooklyn’s Gustaf have built a kind of buzz that feels like it comes from a different era. The art punk 5 piece rapidly established a reputation as one of New York’s “hardest working…and most reliably fun bands” (BrooklynVegan), and early excitement about their danceable, ESG-inspired post punk expanded outside of their city with remarkable effect despite having released no recorded music and barely having an online presence. As a result of their magnetic live show the band found unlikely early champions, catching the attention of luminaries like Beck – who had the band open for him at a secret loft party he played around the release of his latest album – the New York no wave legend James Chance, and shared stages with buzzing indie acts like Omni, Tropical F*** Storm, Dehd and Bodega, while word of mouth led to sell out shows when they played their first LA headline dates in late 2019. They finally released recorded music in the form of their debut 7 inch at the end of 2020, which only furthered the growth of their reputation…”
Today, the band are announcing their debut LP, the magnificently titled Audio Drag For Ego Slobs, which will be out on October 1st on Toronto’s Royal Mountain Records (Wild Pink, Alvvays, Mac DeMarco), and sharing their new single “Book.”
Of the track Gustaf’s Lydia Gammil says: “Book is a song about the fallacy and fight of getting ahead vs being a head. It is seeking validation in the wrong places and from the wrong people. The hook, “I got ahead, I got a head” is a fun little taunt that we find either being thrown in our face or coming out our mouth. Everyone gets their moment up on the pedestal and everyone gets their turn falling off of it. Whether it’s up or down, ‘Book’ is about accepting whatever level you’re on.”
To coincide with the announce Gustaf are announcing an extensive itinerary of touring in the US, UK and Europe that will see them playing with IDLES and Pillow Queens.
And you know these pages never end and this could mean lots, it is hard to actually mess up this rather beautiful song, it has been covered so so well by so many people, this is as fine as any cover these ears have encountered…
And before we leave this page, some of the very best gigs I ever went to involved Dusty Hill and ZZ Top, Dusty left us this week, they locked on, ZZ Top were one hell of a live three piece blues band
Not done yet, down a rabbit hole we go….
And of course there are so many great performances from Mr Cohen himself…
The first one I knew, probably via an eight track cartridge…
That is it, the end of the page, more of this tomorrow, maybe?