The editorial, the introduction bit 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, everything must go and 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) very very picky about what we actually post on these fractured pages or what gets played 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, go look at art…
1: Abstract Concrete, as everybody can see and as everybody knows and with no hint of suspencion of disbelief, and there is no choice for he has his voice. Just who is in control here? Who’s the dummy, which one is Charlie? Charlie is Charles Hayward but is he the dummy?
“ABSTRACT CONCRETE is another big step for UK underground heavyweight Charles Hayward on his music journey (This Heat, Camberwell Now, Quiet Sun, Massacre).
ABSTRACT CONCRETE is music which spans a wide emotional landscape focussed on connection and communication using a genre fluid sound world of song, groove and fire with all the lyrical intensity the world demands right now.
Language: abstract/concrete, subject, verb, object”.
There is no choice, his master’s voice, read my lips, I’m not moving my mouth. This is the only track we can find right now, Charles Hayward, he of This Heat and such has a new band. Abstract Concrete play London’s Cafe Oto on Thursday 30th June
“ABSTRACT CONCRETE brings together some of the most exciting and forward-thinking young London players from a diversity of European underground scenes.
Agathe Max plays viola with the band but is best known as a collaborative violinist and composer with soundtracks for films, theatre and dance and performs solo throughout the UK and Europe.
Roberto Sassi plays electric guitar and electronics. His music world spans techno funk collective Snorkel through to large scale project London Improvisers Orchestra and music and sound design for video, dance and theatre.
Yoni Silver plays keyboards. On the album he extends group arrangements with clarinets and alto saxophone. His work ranges from the song minimalism of Ashley Paul through to the spectral Hyperion Ensemble.
Otto Willberg plays electric bass and double bass, explores the between zones, locks the groove down tight and wild. As part of Sound and Music’s initiative New Voices 2019, Otto created the site Bootleg Spatial Recall, a public sourced archive.
Charles Hayward plays drums and sings, bringing his intense energy to the group, questioning everything, making and sharing.
ABSTRACT CONCRETE sound is now, sound is here”
2: Charmpit and a video featuring a track from Charmpit’s 2020 album ‘Cause A Stir’, out on Specialist Subject. And this is a bit of a, to quote the band, a “bittersweet news alert: Charmpit is riding off into the sunset, going out to pasture, ascending to doggie heaven We are celebr8ing with one last tour and finally launching our first and last album”.
We really should have covered Charmpit before now it is a very very fine delight of an album from a band doing it themselves and declaring as they do so that “being a punk is loads of fun”.
“This band has been a joyous rollercoaster, every day a winding road, we will treasure the friendships, music, photoshoots and pool parties forever. Thank you so much to everyone who gave us love and support along the way. Get wet and wild with us one last time next month!!!”
Ah look, we should have said something about the glorious beast called Charmpit long ago, we’re almost too late now and they do remind us of those long forgotten Disco Pistol days and those Charlie’s Angels adventures and, well there you fo, their last ever dates and their album from 2020 and better late than never and well, catch ’em while you can.
3: Katheryn Williams has a new album ‘Night Drives’ out on July 15th via One Little Independent Records. There a rather tranquil new single, Radioactive, out now
“Singer, songwriter, novelist, and painter Kathryn Williams is readying for the release of her anticipated new album ‘Night Drives’. The collection explores a more filmic sound, with a larger ensemble of instrumentation, and particular emphasis on the strings and production from Ed Harcourt. It’s out on July 15th via One Little Independent Records.
New single ‘Radioactive’ is dynamic and infectious. Of its accompanying video, Kathryn tells us that “the footage was recorded in the studio while Ed was recording the guitar onto the track by me, it’s a beautiful memory for me, working on the track, then Katie Barlow (film and documentary director and producer) added and cut the video together along with the drumming bear (who could it possibly be?). The whole video gives you a window into the world and recording of the song at the Wolf Cabin. We hope it gives you the late-night woozy feelings we were getting that night”.
Journeying from leftfield contemporary pop to soft acoustics, Kathryn Williams uses her latest LP to explore a variety of fresh ideas driven, in part, by a host of collaborators. Kirsty Logan, Oystein Greni, Romeo Stodart, Matt Deighton, Simon Edwards, Yvette Williams, Neill Maccoll, Andy Bruce, Ida Wenoe, Joel Sarakula, Emily Barker and John Alder all have credits on various tracks across ‘Night Drives’. Kathryn explains “I’ve been releasing music for 24 years now. That fact blows me away, and things have changed so much over those years. The biggest change has been my love of co-writing and writing for other artists. This began when I first went on a writing retreat with Chris Difford forming close friendships and working relationships that are represented here”.
Discussing some of the themes explored she says “Some of it is questioning who we are, realising that being human is about flaws, humility, and the consequences of how we react to others. It can be about the longevity of a long-term relationship, how to keep the fire burning and to celebrate that. So many love songs are about the first moments, but this is about enduring love. The simple things that fill a day and how our dreams and wants are so separate to the daily grind. The final track is a philosophical musing on loss and gain in life. How by living a long life we will lose so much, but that in itself is riches”.
The classic references that Kathryn draws from, particularly that of fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles, are clear in ‘Night Drives’, which plays like a road-trip through her styles and influences. It recalls visions of a British countryside lightly illuminated by the flicker of passing lampposts and the endless, rolling landscapes beyond them. These are intelligent, self-aware tracks, with Kathryn’s unmistakable writing backed with beautifully arranged, natural compositions.
“I am really proud of this record. Also really scared of putting it out into the world after such a long time” she continues, “I can say that because it’s not just down to me. It’s because of the musical family I have around me that keeps me safe, makes me better, is there for the times when I think I can’t go on. It’s about realising that by sharing things creatively, they can be better and it’s not about showing people how great you are. It’s about making the songs the best they can be and trusting people with that. I’ve been on OLI records since 2010. In that time, they have put out 8 albums as well as the anthology box set. Their belief in me and ongoing support has been nothing short of a miracle. They’ve happily allowed me to do side projects, collaborations, write novels, teach. They’ve encouraged me to make my art and include it on releases. Having the label, Ed Harcourt and the other artists who I work with believe in me has helped me believe in myself and want to be what they think I am.”
Kathryn Williams is often described as “a songwriter’s songwriter”, her timeless and searching work has earned her accolades, critical acclaim, and a loyal fan-base. In this new musical world when we talk about an artist’s body of work, we tend to think of a handful of records stretched out across of a handful of years, if we’re lucky. A changing industry and a focus on immediacy has done little to alter such notions, which makes Kathryn Williams something of an anomaly – releasing 12 full-length albums under her own name since her debut LP, ‘Dog Leap Stairs’, released in 1999.
As impressive a stat as that might be, it does little to capture the true magic of Williams work; the enchanting craft that has grown and expanded as she’s moved from one project to the next, from the breakthrough success of her Mercury Prize nominated ‘Little Black Numbers’ all the way to her Sylvia Plath tribute project ‘Hypoxia’ and last year’s Christmas album ‘Midnight Chorus’, written with Dame Carol Ann Duffy.
While her best-known work is characterised by rich and honest songwriting inspired by the greats, Williams has continually been able to evolve as an artist because she’s always looked outside of such boundaries. She continues to listen and learn while, at the same time, writing with a fiery spirit and a sense of adventure that has never once wilted.
4: Horsegirl – “Anti-glory,” is taken from Horsegirl’s debut album ‘Versions of Modern Performance,’ just out on Matador Records They;re from Chicago,find the album on Bandcamp
5: Tension Span – “This is a sneak peak of my new band, Tension Span. Full album on Neurot Recordings soon” so said Noah Landis, he of Neurosis and various tasty bands of a hardcore punk rock nature, bands like Blister, Christ on Parade (and the legendary Everything Must Go of course). Here then is a first taste of “Pandemic born punk collaboration based out of the East Bay”, sounding good,,,,