ORGAN: Five Music Things – No time to stop for a snack, Bristol’s Slagheap have something new, Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard with Marcello De Francisci, New York’s Wild Arrows, The Life And Death, Half-handed Cloud’s new album and and and…

Slagheap

Jump past this bit, forget the snack, no time for that, the music starts down there with the cool suss of Slagheap, you don’t need the damn intro…

And just like we asked last time, shall we do it again, five more slice of music? Really was all for finally knocking everything on the head this week what with all the thankless label bulpoop and the PR ego that was coming our way and the wondering if any of it was worth it? Never a “thanks” for all the coverage and the airplay and the links and the plugs over the years (the decades!) just a moan when we for once fail to read the not very clear small print in the tediously long boring hope-filled press release about some release date and the pecking order of importance and what is this crap about and you can’t cover it until someone far more important that you has done so and and and a back to front date because Americans mangle everything including how to write a release date with the days and months in the right order and off with their heads for messing with the Queen’s English.  “Wow, you take things personally” said arsey PR guy, too damn right we do! This is art, this is music, this is lives, this matters this isn’t just spreadsheets and reports to clients and  that’s the thing that sticks in my head most from those years I stupidly let myself get sucked far further into the backstabbing soup of the music industry than I should have done – none of them give a shit about the actual music or the people making it, it is all just a big game of monopoly and the public image and the product and the midweeks, it is all about charts and sales and the lines and the holes in the noses and the roses and points scored and killing off your rival A&R man’s band because we don’t want him proven right after we’ve sacked him do we? And there’s flippers in PR, they really are all about everything but the music they supposed to be getting coverage for, they really are playing a game where lives or actual music or art or any of those stupid things matter matter and enough of this, hop in the pink Barbie jeep, Slagheap have a new single and can I have a lick of you ice cream, no, mind your own business.  

And here comes the proper editorial, the introduction and the Five music things thing for whatever it still might still be worth. Five? There’s something rather compelling about five. Cross-pollination? Fie more? and why do we do all this? Do we need to do the editorial bit again? Is there another way? A cure for pulling cats out of hats? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever? What do reasons make? Five more, same as last time (and the time before) five, and no, we never do and the proof of the pudding is in that proof reading. When we started this thing, oh never mind, it doesn’t matter and like we asked last time, does anyone bother reading the editorial? Does anyone ever actually look down the rabbit hole or is it all just method acting? We do listen to everything that comes in, we do it so you don’t have to, we are very (very) picky about what we actually post on these pages or play on the radio or hang in a gallery. Cut to the chase, never mind the editorial there’s loads of music further down the page, well five or so pieces of music that have come our way in the last few days and cut cut slash and cut to the damn chase, who needs an editorial or words in general? Just facts and links then, here you go, grab your five, eat your greens…

Here then, in no particular order, five (or so) musical things to check out…

1: Slagheap – No time to stop for a snack, more from Bristol – Energetic post punk nonsense from four women in their pants. Melodic, naive and raucous songs from Bristol – straight in there, eyes on the road, not eyes on the peaches, eyes on the road, stop looking at the cherries. Slagheap have taken another break from laughing alone with salads to chitter about a hunger that cannot be sated and the need for a suit of their own. No biscuits, bickering, bird feed, or macrame can rid them of this tickle. This band are fidgety, shrill and a little bit peckish yet again, this is just as good as being a little bit peckish and well look at me I’m hungry and Boyfriend up there is the new one, this one down here is from last year, they’re both vital…

“Destination Boyfriend our new single is going to plop into your lap this Friday! Complete with an amazing video by Clump Oollective it will be out in all places you can stream or buy music this Friday the 17th June.” Here’s the Bandcamp page, don’t stop for a snack, no time….

And before we go, how good is this one…

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2: Lisa Gerrard & Marcello De Francisci – Having announced their record deal several weeks ago, Lisa and Marcello’s people are “delighted to finally share with you the new single from legendary DEAD CAN DANCE vocalist LISA GERRARD (also an award-winning composer in her own right) and LA-based producer-composer MARCELLO DE FRANCISCI. Titled ‘Until We Meet Again’, this is the first taste of the vivid collection of epic and empowering compositions that is their forthcoming ‘Exaudia’ LP. The single is out today, while the full album is out August 26 via the Atlantic Curve label.

“De Francisci says, “This piece is very much a story that depicts longing, distance between two people, it is an invitation to heal and a message of hope… We collaborated remotely on ‘Exaudia’ during the holidays between Melbourne and Los Angeles as I recall, importing Lisa Gerrard’s vocals onto my session, which her engineer Simon Bowley had sent over on the night of New Year 2021. Whatever plans I had to celebrate that evening were completely obliterated upon witnessing the emotional impact Lisa’s performance had on me. The overall track in general, as a result, was instantly addictive and therefore, I proceeded to work alone in the studio until dawn”

‘Until We Meet Again’ is rather rich, rather warm, rather full bodied, deliciously composed, electronically organic, colourfully rich, fore filling in that way most things Dead Can Dance flavoured are…

3: The Life And Death – We were talking to Justin Buckley last Sunday, singer songwriter with London band The Life and Death about, well about all kinds of things really, bumped into him at an art show. “The new record is in progress and will be ready when it’s ready.” was the main thing – he seemed rather upbeat about new material, about forthcoming late summer gigs and just getting on and doing it, about the need to do it and how not doing it wasn’t really an option.

Have to be honest here, Justin and Organ go back a long way, his previous bands have played on many Organ bills around London, a couple of legendary gigs actually woven around many adventures and drunken tales, it is, I confess it is a little difficult to listen to what he’s doing now without dragging all that baggage along when really none of that should matter and it should be all about the right here right now and what The Life and Death are doing next. It can be tough to get away from something you painted twenty years ago., from the zine you wrote, that record  you made of that excellent punk rock band you once ripped places up with and really, not that Justin needs to get away from his past, his bands pass the test of time, raw and angry, full of piss and vinegar, frustration, no he doesn’t need to get away from it, what he needs are the ears of people who don’t know about all that baggage, for however good that baggage is, it is baggage, what the Live and Death deserve, are the ears of people who will only find out about the other stuff once they’ve explored what Justin and his band are doing now. 

These two songs posted here are two strong songs, The Live And Death, like quite a few bands, artists, singers, painters, performers, were on quite a roll before Covid and well, you know the story – no gigs, no recording studios, no art galleries, no performance space, plenty of stir crazy – The Live And Death were on quite a roll before the mess of the pandemic and well, like a lot of artists doing it themselves, Justin and his band are picking up the pieces and starting to look forward again, there’s gigs in September, there’s new material on the way, “ready when it’s ready” and well here’s a couple of fine slices from a couple of years ago and don’t be worrying about all that history, it really is about the here and now, the next thing, we need song-slingers like Justin Buckley, we need that commitment, we need people who stick to it, who throw it all and more in there or indeed out there, there’s some beautiful detail in Sisters, some heartfelt joy, is it joy? is it a cry? Hey sisters, hey brothers. it kind of feels like a stolen look through the cracks, a sneaked view into a private sketch book of songs, like there’s more to be squeezed out of Justin Buckley and The Life and Death…    

4: Wild Arrows – Now I’m sure I had a press release around here somewhere, but hey, we get hundreds of them every day, sometimes the same damn press release three or four times (“just in case you missed it”) and I’m sure you can go find Wild Arrows if you really want to. They’re from New York, they have a new album out today, we’ll deal with it properly in a moment (unless their PR people object and PR people so often do) I wanna move next door and dig up your streets – the album is here and the pecking order is over there and nothing is in order and….

5: Half-handed Cloud‘s new album Flutterama is out Today as well, via Asthmatic Kitty Records ,here’s the single, a rather colourfully delightful sunny thing as we melt in the haze of climate change and here where you peel off that face from the ground and go find out more in terms of the storehouse and the dwelling on the broken dance or whatever I misheard just them

And well, here’s what the press release said and

“Flutterama is a record of 18 jubilant indie-pop songs by John Ringhofer, investigating spiritual incompetence with lively arrangements and radiant melodies that skillfully dissolve into deterioration. “Ringhofer used the tape machine and all kinds of old-school manipulations a bunch for Flutterama,” writes Stereogum. “As a result, Flutterama features everything from chord organs and piano and brass to deflating balloons and tablecloths and music boxes.”

Ringhofer’s work on Flutterama was mainly inspired by late ’50s/early ’60s pre-synthesizer academic tape music (Henk Badings, Tod Dockstader, İlhan Mimaroğlu, Malcolm Pointon), along with Frances Mary Hunter Gordon’s adolescent liturgies (recorded at Abbey Road during The Beatles era), turbid sights and sounds in Guy Maddin films, R. Stevie Moore’s home-taped pop universe, Alberto Burri’s stitched wound burlap assemblages, Lou Barlow/Dinosaur Jr’s lo-fi “Poledo” sound collage (which name-checks Jesus), Julie Canlis book A Theology of the Ordinary, Wallace Berman’s visual collage, and The Raincoats’ magnificently shaky D.I.Y. aesthetic.

The tape machine itself plays a vital role in the album’s drive, interrupting moments of ecstasy and revelation with varispeed pitch shifts and grainy decay. These tape-fiddled tunes – recorded on a 16-track reel-to-reel recorder – employ surprisingly little synthesizer (“it felt like cheating,” says Ringhofer). He preferred to craft most of the album’s effects the long way, frequently going behind the back of rock instrumentation by hand-feeding ½” magnetic open reel recordings of deflating balloons, chord organs, tablecloth swipes, piano (occasionally tracked with a baby on his lap), brass, some guitars, and a quickly-cranked half-speed music box. Ringhofer was assisted by long-time Half-h contributor Brandon Buckner on drums, and single-song backing vocals from Anacortes, WA songsmith John Van Deusen.

AKR’s relationship with Ringhofer is long-standing: the label released Half-handed Cloud’s debut album, Learning About Your Scale, in 2001 under catalog number AKR002, marking it as the label’s second release (and the first release not from the label’s founder and owner, Sufjan Stevens). An interview at WBAR with Ringhofer and Stevens from 2002 is available here

Never mind all that though, here’s the whole album

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And more while we’re here, here, here;s a little bit more, have a few more seconds of this and well…

and

4 thoughts on “ORGAN: Five Music Things – No time to stop for a snack, Bristol’s Slagheap have something new, Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard with Marcello De Francisci, New York’s Wild Arrows, The Life And Death, Half-handed Cloud’s new album and and and…

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