nick nicely – Space of a Second

Saturday, 30 August 2014, 13:42 | Category : Reviews
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Lo Recordings – Released 6 Oct 2014

Review by Jason Barnard

nick nicely is one of a rare breed of artists who see psychedelia as not a retro trip to summer 67. nick takes inspiration from the innovation of the period but feeds it through a modern dance edged palette. One of his early flowerings was his 1982 EMI single masterpiece “Hilly Fields (1892)” hailed by the NME as “the best psychedelic record since the ‘60s”. Despite being admired by contemporaries Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge, his singles brace of psychedelic electronica in the early eighties did not achieve the commercial success they deserved.

nick nicely space of a second

Since then his he’s embarked on a few periods of creativity and his new album ‘Space of a Second’ is certainly another creative peak for “the greatest popstar that never was…”. Over the past few years I’ve been teased by snatches of this material including an excellent lo-fi reworking of ‘Hilly Fields’ originally on Fruits de Mer vinyl.

Hilly Fields - The Mourning - nick nicely revisits Hilly Fields after 30 years away
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‘Space of a Second’ feels like a bit of follow up to his repeatedly reissued “Psychotropia” collection in that it captures his best work of recent years. For the initiated there elements of nick’s sound that are Numanesque, but rather than a rock edge there’s a house/dance influence which conversely is not easily dance-able too.

Ultimately though nick is not easily categorisable and perhaps that’s why he’s never quite captured mainstream attention but gathered praise from the likes of Noel Gallagher and Temples instead. ‘Space of a Second’s ‘Wrottersley Road’ and ‘Whirlpool’, for example, wash over the listener like a lost soul in dreamlike state twisting the dial on world’s radio. ‘London South’ and ‘Change in Charmaine’ have a lyrical bite and darkness to their hypnotic sounds.

nick nicely London South
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‘Space of a Second’ closes with nick’s haunting acoustic remodel of ‘Hilly Fields’  which ties in his past and present on this atypical and unparalleled album.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nick-nicely/116611371747730
http://www.lorecordings.com

See also my extensive interview with nick here on The Strange Brew.

The Movements – Like Elephants 1 & 2

Thursday, 28 August 2014, 20:30 | Category : Reviews
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Sunrise Ocean Bender Records Limited Edition Double Vinyl LP

Also available on CD and download

Review by Mark Waters

First up I wish I could get hold of a vinyl copy of this record…unfortunately all I have is a MP3 download which does not really give the depth and analogue fell which this music requires. They are both really fine albums and need to be considered together.

LikeElephants1

Starting off with “The Death of John Hall D.Y.” one clearly hears the tune from David Crosby’s “8 Miles High” masterpiece for The Byrds which takes us back into the sunny 1960’s. They continue with a dash of Marvin Gay “I Heard it on the Grapevine” mixed in with some Credence Clearwater revival..on “Boogin” which has a lovely long guitar jam which is up among the best. The Movement then go off blowing a “Shady Wind” into our ears which surges into “Two Tongues” which is a dead ringer for an early Stranglers record. “Great Deceiver” sends us into the great Organ territory of Ray Manzarek and the Doors mixing with Arthur Lee and Love at their best!

The Movements - Two Tongues - Official video
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Side two starts with “All The Lost”, “David’s Song”, “Like Elephant’s 1”, “Ingenting Kommer Ur Ingenting”; One really needs to listen to these tracks as a whole. It reminds me of the Pink Floyd surging into early Hawkwind and back again in a most delightful way. It shows how The Movements musicianship is up there with the very best. The penultimate track ends with a short nod at Neil Young’s feedback frenzy of “Weld”.

Like Elephants 1 ends with “It Takes A Spark” which takes us back to the beginning song with the Dylan-Byrds sound and leaves me contented with the lines “The first thing you said to me was the last thing on my mind!”.

Like Elephants 2

The second set shows The Movements “have Class” as Jason told me – and indeed this second album put a smile on to this old Hippies’ face. Do you remember the first track on side two of Gerry Garcia’s first solo album? The opening track “Six Feet Under” reminds one of it but on Like Elephants 2 the Movements find their own sound mixing all of the influences from the past.

The Movements - Six Feet Under
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Here we have a 60’s sound with a Gothic twist which needs to be listened to at one sitting. Stand out tracks include “Ice cold” with its simple lyrical rhythm,”Give it To Me” with its deep bass and church organ belting out a repetitive rhythm-with lovely little twists of bagpipe sounds layered over. “Redemption” introduces a wonderful steel guitar.

To sum up Like Elephants 1&2 is a worthy contender for album of the year. The Movements hit all the right notes and are well worth a listen:

http://sunriseoceanbender.bigcartel.com/product/coming-soon

http://www.themovements.com/small/

Mark Waters

Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band 1965-1967

Tuesday, 26 August 2014, 20:05 | Category : Articles
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By Nick Warburton

When Dexys Midnight Runners topped the UK charts in 1981 with their “Geno” tribute, a new generation of fans discovered American soul singer Geno Washington, who had fronted British R&B/soul outfit The Ram Jam Band from 1965-1969 and enjoyed moderate chart success. 

Original Ram Jam Band 1965

Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band, Spring 1965, left to right: Geoff Pullum, John Roberts, Herb Prestidge, Pete Gage, Geno Washington, Lionel Kingham, Buddy Beadle (photo used with kind permission of Buddy Beadle)

The brainchild of lead guitarist Pete Gage, Nick Warburton traces the formative years of this explosive soul/R&B aggregation:

http://thestrangebrew.co.uk/articles/geno-washington-the-ram-jam-band

Chris Wade – Dodson and Fogg

Monday, 25 August 2014, 13:46 | Category : Podcasts
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Take a musical journey with Chris Wade of Dodson and Fogg, ably assisted by Strange Brew host Jason Barnard.

dodsonfogg

  1. The Kinks – Shangri-La (Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire), Pye, 1969)
  2. Dodson and Fogg – Late for the Party (The Call, Wisdom Twin, 2013)
  3. The Trees – Fool (On The Shore, CBS, 1970)
  4. The Beatles – I’m So Tired (The Beatles, EMI, 1968)
  5. Incredible String Band – Koeeoaddi There (The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter, Elektra, 1968)
  6. Dodson and Fogg – You’re An Island (After the Fall, Wisdom Twin, 2013)
  7. King Crimson – 21st Century Schizoid Man (In the Court of the Crimson King, Island, 1969)
  8. Frank Zappa – Peaches En Regalia (Single A-side, Bizarre (US), 1970)
  9. Jethro Tull – Witches Promise (Single A-side, Chrysalis, 1970)
  10. Dodson and Fogg – In Your Own Fine Way (After the Fall, Wisdom Twin, 2013)
  11. Black Sabbath – Into the Void (Master of Reality, Vertigo, 1971)
  12. Neil Young – Revolution Blues (On The Beach, Reprise, 1974)
  13. Dodson and Fogg – A Sweet and Strange Surprise (In A Strange Slumber, Wisdom Twin, 2014)

As well as being an excellent singer-songwriter, Chris has interviewed many great artists and shares his experiences of speaking to Dave Davies, Ian Anderson, Alison O’Donnell and more.  See also http://wisdomtwinsbooks.weebly.com/dodson-and-fogg.html

Soft Hearted Scientists – The Slow Cyclone

Saturday, 23 August 2014, 12:24 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

Through misfortune and the stars not aligning it’s an occasional occurrence that music deserved of a mass audience just doesn’t quite break through. Many would argue that whimsical Welsh psychedelists Soft Hearted Scientists fall into this category. Hopefully their new album, The Slow Cyclone, which continues their run of marvelous records, will right that wrong.

TheSlowCyclone

The Slow Cyclone is a song suite of 24 tracks grouped together in four parts of six. It includes a series of short instrumental interludes to bring a true album feel that you don’t often get with the pick’n’mix iTunes generation. Sonically it pays repeated listening too as if you listen carefully you’ll hear coughs, birds and and cardboard percussion adding to the feel of an afternoon nap.

But ultimately a record lives and dies by it’s melodies and they are there in spades. Just take the mid-tempo ‘The Ups and the Downs’ for instance. Its jaunty acoustics and choral backing syncs with its peerless refrain and stream of historical references (including Basil Rathbone and Alexander the Great) to reinforces its lyrical theme.

However the Soft Hearted Scientists are equally adapt at matters of life and death. Just one listen of ‘Cobra Clouds’ and ‘Before I Was Born’ show they work on a range of levels.

Soft Hearted Scientists ' Before I was Born '
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The Slow Cyclone is a truly excellent record and will be fondly remembered for much more than a while. Available from 22 September:

http://www.softheartedscientists.com/

The Happiness Vending Machine

Saturday, 23 August 2014, 11:39 | Category : News
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One of my favourite rock groups, Chicago’s The Luck of Eden Hall, follow up last year’s excellent Victoria Moon long player with a new single, the superb psych glam stomper ‘Happine$$ Vending Machine’.

The Happiness Vending Machine
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The band are gearing up for their 25 anniversary with a retrospective article in Shindig! plus Victoria Moon sees a deserved vinyl release on Headspin Records. With solo projects, and huge amount of activity from this talented band do check them out.

The Happiness Vending Machine bandcamp

The ‘Happine$$ Vending Machine’ is out on 1st September:

http://theluckofedenhall.com/

http://theluckofedenhall.bandcamp.com/