ORGAN: Five music things – Sexmob have a new album, are Big Special big or special? Some Feefawfum, Emmett Elvin, the post rock of Bravery in Battle, Gurriers and some classic soul from The Flirtations…


Never mind the editorial bit at the top or what we said the last time, you’ve read all this already, just jump down to the music. Exact same thing again today, another five (or so) slices of musical things that can do all the talking themselves and however you slice it and of course it was the price of fish and here comes the introduction to the latest Five Music Things feature thing. Five? There’s something rather compelling about five. Cross-pollination? Five more? Do we need to do the editorial bit again? Is there another way? A better way? A cure for pulling flying dogs out of the clouds? Is there a rhyme? Is there a reason? Was there ever a reason? What do reasons make? Five more? Snake foil? Everything must go and same as last time (and the time before that) 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 why we started this damn thing 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 really try to 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 about what gets played on the radio or indeed what we 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 it, who needs an editorial or words or worms in general? What’s Wordsworth? Just facts and links and sounds then. Here you go, play the music, grab your five, eat your greens, go eat some art, go eat some fresh music and don’t forget whatever it was we said last time,


1: Sexmob –  This taste of the new album just landed here on this fine and sunny Monday morning, we’ll park it here for you alongside the information about the new release, hear the whole album and explore for yourself down under the video, we’re just throwing open doors, putting up the signposts and giving you the links here with this five pieces of music thing…

“For over a quarter-century, the visionary quartet Sexmob has exploded all preconceived notions of what an instrumental jazz band can be. In many cases — including the albums Dime Grind Palace, Din of Inequity, Solid Sender and Sex Mob Does Bond — they’ve done so with producer Scotty Hard at the board. On The Hard Way, Sexmob’s remarkable new recording for 2023, Hard returns skewing the music decisively electronic, as he provides beats and soundscapes for slide trumpeter and founder Steven Bernstein, saxophonist Briggan Krauss, bassist Tony Scherr and acoustic/electric drummer Kenny Wollesen to compose and improvise over, providing all the stimulus they need for fearless reinvention.

Scotty Hard has worked extensively in genres including jazz, experimental music and cutting-edge hip-hop (Harriet Tubman, Ka, Vijay Iyer & Mike Ladd, Preservation, Mach-Hommy, more), and those aesthetic convergences inform much of the music on The Hard Way. “Steven really loved my last album,” Hard says, “and I suggested we do something entirely different. A process record. We’ve already done the four musicians (sometimes more) in a room thing, so let’s do something totally unique and collaborative.” While Hard was very hands-on with all previous Sexmob albums, this would take it to a whole other level.

The album is being released by the Chicago-based Corbett vs. Dempsey — no ordinary record label, but an art gallery that curates albums and books. Creative music has always been a feature of the gallery’s activities (in addition to its record label, CvsD represents Peter Brötzmann and the estate of Sun Ra).

“I was introduced to [co-directors] John Corbett and Jim Dempsey at Hal Willner’s Nino Rota show in New York,” Bernstein recalls. “When I went on their site I saw albums by Hal, Don Cherry, Van Dyke Parks, Lester Bowie, Sun Ra and many more, and I realized that this was the home for The Hard Way. It’s what I call ‘a gift from Hal.’ I keep getting them.” (Willner died of Covid in 2020.)

“Scotty and I realized,” Bernstein adds, “that since this is not really a ‘record label’ but an art gallery, let’s treat this album like an art piece.” One of the gallery’s favorite artists, Corey Escoto, created the album cover art, continuing a long tradition of next-level visuals for the band. “We start the album with the longest piece, ‘Fletcher Henderson,'” Bernstein explains, “which began as an almost eight-minute through-composed electronic piece by Scotty that I composed melodies and harmony on top of. This process was used for the entire album: Scotty would send me loops, beats or electronic pieces and I would write compositions over them.”

Acclaimed pianist/composer Vijay Iyer guests on “You Can Take a Myth,” sprinkling stark sustained treble tones and abstract harmonies on top of fat processed bass (played by Hard) as the composition unfolds. John Medeski (of Medeski Martin & Wood) underlays organ chords and blues phraseology to perfection on “Banacek” and works atmospheric magic with mellotron, counterposing Hard’s evocative balafon samples, on “Club Pythagorean,” one of two tracks included on the bonus 12-inch 45rpm EP. (The other, “Dominion,” was created with DJ Olive.)

With each offering, and certainly with The Hard Way and its rich electro-acoustic groove canvas, Bernstein and crew evince a modernizing impulse but also an equally strong foundation in the roots of jazz and American song. Their immersion in a wide range of contemporary music is consistent with Bernstein’s own chameleonic experience alongside Lou Reed, Levon Helm, Hal Willner, Sam Rivers, Bernie Worrell, Henry Butler, U2, Little Feat and a host of other legends (all of it feeding the pan-genre worldview of Bernstein’s Millennial Territory Orchestra, heard to stunning effect on its four-volume 2022 opus Community Music from upstate New York label Royal Potato Family). Funky, bluesy, with a tattered dissonance conjured up by Krauss’ throaty saxophone tone, the distinctive wail of Bernstein’s rare horn and the swagger of Scherr and Wollesen’s rhythm section grind, Sexmob continues to chart new paths in 21st-century creative music.

Sexmob has announced two upcoming performances at Solar Myth in Philadelphia on May 19 and Fotografiska in New York City on May 30 to celebrate the release of The Hard Way. The quartet will also back Laurie Anderson on her upcoming ‘Let X=X’ tour across Europe this summer”.

The whole album can be explored here on Bandcamp, we haven’t had time yet, more whe nwe have I expect. Other links if you prefer…


2: Big Special – they say it isn’t big or special, that you can’t shine your shit and life isn’t a disco, sounds big to us, this year has indeed been a belter or a shitehouse or a bit Mickey Mouse or something like that, you know about a louse not being a home and yes, In the mind there lives a louse. Louse? mouse? Cinderella? Big Special, we’ll park it here for you,


You see, there are only so many hours in the day now under this damn self serving Tory govenment, they’ve sold off the rest to investment companies owned by their wives, mothers and brothers while they pretend to care about us all and current have thousse hours lock away in offshore accounts where they can’t be taxed. We are bring you as much as we ca nhere but there are paintings to paint and bills to pay and pigeons to feed. Meaning at us because you sent us a link to your Spotify or Bandcamp lage three days ago and we haven’t responded yet really won’t do, especially you PR types who just mindlessly e.mail everything to us with messages like, “for fans of Oasis, you’ll love this one”. Here comes some FeefawFum, this is the kind of band we want to hear from….


3: Feefawfum – They just reached us, they currently can be found in Oakland, California, Stop, drop, and roll, they said something about having water to sell so go get it hot now. All about jsut parking five musical things here and leaving you to do what you will with them. We like the cut of Feefawfum’s thing, you find them on Bandcamp, this latest reelase flows rather well, the back catalogue is worth exploring as well, more soon we expect, I didn’t get where I am today without expectring more. More links


We interupt this page for some classic 60’s soul and footage I hadn’t seen before (whatever happened to Steve Soul anyway?) if you’ve never heard Nothing Like A Hearache then lucky you, everyone knows the first time is the best, hit that link you just went past, here they are on French TV and here a quick touch of cut and copied background –

“The group had started life as a quartet called the Gypsies, consisting of three sisters, Betty, Shirley, & Earnestine Pearce, along with Viola Billups, who worked for three years under that name. They changed their name to the Flirtations

In 1967, by which time The Flirtations were a trio, the group had gone to England, as both a performing & recording act. American soul was going over in a serious way at the time in the U.K., and the group came to the attention of Decca Records. The Flirtations made their British recording debut with “How Can You Tell Me” in 1967 on Parrot. The group was shifted to the Deram Records label the following year & released a classic piece of late-’60s soul in “Nothing But a Heartache.” The single proved a success in America as well as England, riding the charts in Cashbox magazine for many weeks in 1969 and getting up to number 31. The group’s fortunes remained high for most of the next decade, and they built up an especially fervent following in England”


Right then, where were we, new music, that’s what this page is about. Emmett Elvin’s latest album is quite new music, it came out in 2022, it has been sitting here in the studio for ages and we have been menaing to say soemthing, you know how it is, not enough hours, paint to throw, pigeons ot deal with, the price of fish going up and up, coverage is well overdue (far easier to just play these things on the radio, it has featured on the Other Rock Show a number of times)


4: Emmett Elvin has an album called Being of Sound Mind and over and over and over again we’ve been meaning ot mention it. Yeah, I know, damn those Organ peopleand just cut to the chase, who needs to read about music when you can listen to it and form your own opinion. Being of Sound Mind is a very fine album, leave your knowledge at the gate now, all kind of inviting fairground rides going on here. So much heart, dare we say English heart, folk flavoured pop, English pastoral, delicately crafted prog rock, filmic rushes, so much here, glorious tunes, beautiful details, perfectly put together songs that kind of feel refreshingly unique, yes that good. A thrilling set of rides, delightfully ambitious, never ever a difficult ride… 


5: Bravery in Battle are from Paris, they’re been around a rather long time now and while they might never be breaking any new boundaries or chanllenging either themselves or us listeners with there rather predictable post rock, they do do their chosen thing rather well. We;ve hear it all before, do rather like the way this piece swells up, do like the hope of it all (and we can’t always be wearing a cynical smile), there is something rather beautiful about their latest rather widescreeened release, 65 days of something that touch those explosions in the sky in a more that satisfying way. I expect the new album is full of their spoken word pieces….

This is from Bravery in Battle’s new album and indeed video album, The House We live In, a musical and video experience – “Wetico is the instrumental climax of The House We Live In, Bravery in Battle’s musical and visual creation, dedicated to environmental issues. The title is an amerindian word meaning “one who eats the life of another’. Indigenous tribes used it to designate the white pilgrims who were invading their lands. The song unfolds – within a long, uninterrupted crescendo with brass and strings – a hypnotic motive, both majestic and unsettling, evoking the vertiginous headlong flight of our modern industrial society, this shining beast which devours everything and conceals its monstrosity behind the sparkle of its scales, the brilliance of its false promises.” More about the album, due out in June, via Bandcamp


And while we’re here, we should have mentioned Gurriers already surely?

And this week’s Other Rock Show went like this. If you missed it last night, here’s the Mixcloud, listen whenever you want to, got to say, last night’s was a particularly good one…

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