Fly I Will, Because I Can

Brooklyn-based quartet My Favourite Things have announced the new album ‘Fly I Will, Because I Can’, which is planned for release on July 14, 2017, but are already teasing the first single ‘A Little Closer, loaded with shoegaze and dreampop goodness.
This is the third album from My Favourite Things, founded in Brooklyn by Dorothea Tachler (formerly of Igloo, The Swirlies, Alles Wie Gross). Fans of  dreampop and shoegaze should enjoy the album’s melancholic swaying, melody-rich offerings. This album should also appeal to lovers of artists such as James Yorkston and Bonnie “Prince” Billy.
From a young age, her Korean/German/Croatian background has immersed her in a diversity of musical influences, which have shaped her. In 2009, she released “rarara” (Afterhours/Japan), followed by “Tomorrow’s Far Away” in 2013, featuring guest vocals from several friends and former band-mates, including Valerie Trebeljahr of Lali Puna, Damon Tutunjan from The Swirlies, Daru Oda (Norah Jones), Sean Meadows (June of 4, Lungfish), and Doug Scharin (Codeine, HIM, Rex).
Once again, Dorothea wrote and produced all the songs with their many textures, owing to the use of multiple instruments, many of which she also played: violins, flutes and autoharps weave in and out of twinkling glockenspiels, vibraphones and intricate, sometimes shredding guitars, delivered on a solid bed of a grabbing bass and ripping drums, with Dorothea’s balmy voice hovering and twinkling atop.
When performing live, My Favourite Things appear in different formations, ranging from a solo act to a five-piece band, featuring prominent musicians from the buoyant New York scene: Yoshio “Tony” Kobayashi on drums, Yusuke Yamamoto on vibraphone and synthesizers, Michael Figgiani on bass, and various other talents.
The band has played many venues in the unforgiving NYC music circuit, transporting transfixed audiences from their chaotic built-up urban environments to a twilight world of their own favourite things. Last year, My Favourite Things also toured Germany, featuring Notwist frontman Markus Acher on drums, along with other talented and experienced musicians from Germany’s active band scene.
This album marks a new era for Dorothea, who uses songwriting as a medium to deal with difficult situations that life has dealt her. “This album has made me grow as a songwriter, producer and recording engineer. From a different perspective, this record was like my journal in a difficult time, ridden with a lot of changes: a lot of my friends and family had moved away, my relationship ended, I lost my apartment and had to move, and I became sober, which lead to losing specific social contacts I had until then, who I had thought of as friends – it was all hard, but rewarding in the end to go through this process,” explains Dorothea Tachler.
“Music was my anchor and my lighthouse in stormy and dark nights, and putting my inner turmoil into words really helped me process it better. It was kind of my metamorphosis, being disintegrated like a chrysalis, and being shaped into something new.”
This is an exquisite collection of songs and Tachlers voice is rich and incredibly moreish – to be featured on Aural Delights 237.
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12th May 2017 – The Coathangers – Night and Day, Manchester

An eagerly awaited gig. For a band that has been around for ten years plus, it is some what annoying to note that I have not seen them up until this point. The show, in Manchester’s “trendy” Northern Quarter, is the  first date of a lengthy European tour supporting the recent album Nosebleed Weekend and forthcoming EP Parasite. The need for a pre-gig loosener in the Lower Turks Head (the bar prices in the venue are a tad excessive) and a bite to eat at Dough means we miss the first support act and only catch half of the second one.  Our waitress at Dough is in a band, it’s a small world!

Julia Kugel (guitar, vocals), Meredith France (bass, vocals) and Stephanie Luke (drums, vocals) are a potent live unit delivering high tempo, catchy, American punk. Lead vocal duties rotate between Kugel and Luke, the former, with her higher register, suffers from a muddy mix, where as Luke tougher punk growl breaks through the sound fug in the N & D. Kugel’s funky head shake and arresting personality drives the thing forward but they are very much a unit and the whole exceeds the sum of the parts. I was expecting a little heavier/darker sound given the content of the album I first encountered of theirs – 2011’s Larceny and Old Lace. There has perhaps been a change in overall direction due to the change in studio/producer for the latest album, or perhaps it’s a more mature approach to the music. There’s no flash or thrills, it’s four to the floor, heads down punk, with a degree of swagger, but also with a popular element, some tasty riffing and clever tempo changes.  At some point, probably due to the combination of Timothy Taylors Landlord, Rioja, and binge watching of Riverdale the phrase “A Josie & The Pussycats for the Ramones Generation” emerges from the back of my mind. In hindsight that somewhat undersells a band which has energy, passion and a lot going for it.

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The crowd which varied between year zero survivors and more younger gig goers lapped it all up and the appreciation for the band grew as the set progressed. The closing numbers saw the band swapping instruments with Kugel and Franco taking the drum stool in successive numbers and Luke taking the lead for an impressive punky drum and bass work out. At some point The Punk Zelig gets his photo taken with Julia and Stephanie photobombs them, and of course he also gets to utter the immortal phrase “I Was A Teenage Propshaft”.

Me, well I stood at the bar and absorbed it all from a distance and found it very enjoyable.

Photos by Mr Stephen Doyle……

Website

Detroit House Guests

ADULT. (Detroit’s Nicola Kuperus and Adam Lee Miller) released a new collaborative album, Detroit House Guests – their first for Mute – on double vinyl and CD on 17th March 2017.

Detroit House Guests was originally conceived by ADULT. in the early 2000s. The concept became a reality in 2014 after receiving a John S. and James L.Knight Foundation grant. Based on the visual artist residency model, each participating musician came to ADULT.’s studio for a three week period with the parameter that they all live, work and collaborate together.

The album features a whole host of musicians and artists – Douglas J McCarthy from Nitzer Ebb, Michael Gira from Swans, Shannon Funchess from Light Asylum, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe aka Lichens, Austrian thereminist Dorit Chrysler and multidisciplinary artist Lun*na Menoh.

It’s a fascinating and sometimes remarkable tour de force of electronic sound design. Hypnotic beats, idiosyncratic sounds, and unique use of synthesizers and voices are all brought together in ground breaking ways. It’s pop Jim, but not as we know it. The use of voice and music sometimes recalls the work of Robert Ashley or particularly Phillip Glass’s “Einstein on the Beach”. A strong candidate for album of the year 2017.

Trinity

As is typical with AMM recordings there are moments of quiet introspection, and indeed passages of silence, and then there are interludes of noise, and oddly there are parts that sound like birds singing in a wood somewhere. The second release after Keith Rowe’s departure and their 21st release overall. The addition of John Butcher to the core duo adds a new dimension to the overall sound which sets it apart from earlier work to some degree.

Lots of improvising collectives aim to do things like this but AMM are the masters of the art, the only parallel outfit that meet their standards are The Necks. You can lose yourself in this music, it defies convention, it is impressionistic and given no AMM performance is ever planned each release is unique and spontaneous. The musicians never rehearse and never  discuss what they have played. They avoid any conventional melody, harmony or rhythm, and produce a collective soundscape that generally obscures any individual technique. It is often difficult to work out which musical instrument is making which specific sound on an AMM recording, due in part to liberal use of various extended techniques on their instruments. Prévost in particular is adept at conjuring a range of unexpected sounds from his battery of percussion instruments.

This collective are very much an acquired taste but fans of freely improvised music should check it out

Recorded on 13th January 2008 at Trinity College of Music, Greenwich, England

John Tilbury piano
Eddie Prévost percussion
John Butcher soprano, tenor saxophone

2009 Matchless Recordings MRCD71

 

Three Minute Heroes

My good friend Dave Hammond has been playing tracks from this compilation album for some weeks now and I’ve finally got hold of a copy thanks to the good people at Futureproof. I’m a sucker for compilation albums with a good cause behind them, we’ve done several at German Shepherd Records. Anyhow here’s the background to this project:

Take a bunch of talented musicians from Hull currently making waves with their own releases at Radio 1, 6Music and Radio X, then hook them up with the young people in the area who’ve been incredibly brave in expressing their feelings in both moving and insightful lyrics, and what do you get? An album of amazing music called Three Minute Heroes #Hear Me Out  . If ever there was an example of the healing power of music Three Minute Heroes is it.

Featuring much loved bands from the area like La Bête Blooms, who’s collaboration with EMBRS on the track Stingray likens feelings of frustration to that of swimming in the deepest ocean – The Might And the Moon who sing about escaping the pressures around you as a child in Home – Serial Chiller and their cry for calm and solitude on Bed Mood – False Advertising and their “Pumpkins-esque” track It’s Been A While (excellent vocals from lead singer Jen Hingley btw) – The Froot of ’67 with their Hendrix influenced funk-rock on Egg – the folk flavours of the Hillbilly Troupe song Dead Langer – The Quicksliver Kings and their teacher/student conversation in I Want To Be Human and not to forget Crooked Weather’s dark and mysterious Skeletons.

The CD version of the album comes with a full colour booklet featuring lyrics to all the songs. It is a true insight into the thoughts, feelings, fears and excitement felt by young people throughout East Yorkshire, during Hull’s year as the UK City of Culture – a socially relevant and inspiring body of work that is on point in this time of heightened awareness around mental health.

As with any compilation of this sort it would be a minor miracle if you liked every track but in this case a substantial number of the artists I have featured already or the tracks indicate the need for further investigation.

I will be featuring selected tracks in future podcasts.

Welcome Home

‘Welcome Home’, Megafauna eschew the progressive rock stylings of their earlier work and reach back toward the proto-metal haze of Black Sabbath and Sir Lord Baltimore while ushering it skyward with sharp melodies and the space-rock production work of Curtis Roush and The Bright Light Social Hour.

The album was crafted throughout 2015 in the cloistered bungalow studio of The Bright Light Social Hour and given a muscular mix by veteran engineer Erik Wofford (Black Angels, Bill Callahan). Through a deep look inside and above for new awareness, Megafauna has forged their most vital work to date.

The self proclaimed thinking woman’s hard rock band draw their influences from maximalism, nature, Psychedelia, circus arts, shredding, splatter paint, reading aloud, modern dance, touring compulsively… and sleeping.

A glorious noise.
Featured on Aural Delights 231

The Guillotine

An intriguing change in direction for Hey Colossus on this their 2017 album release. In the past they would have qualified for the Sonic Attack podcast with their noise rock approach. For now it’s an Aural Delights appearance, the music is more nuanced, but in that not losing any of it’s inherent venom. This is a somewhat different order of business which has a unique quality. At times it feels like a more scabrous version of Magma, at other times it descends into deep four to floor angst fest – a sort of much angrier version of post-punk with a demented form of space rock churning around in the background (indeed Nik Turner himself guests on one track). There are also more reflective passages which refer to early post-rock, but these soon disappear under the massive three guitar attack and repetitive motorik rhythms.

A very impressive album.

The album will be featured on Aural Delights 236 and 237.