Liverpudlian Mike ‘McGear’ McCartney is a chart topping singer, songwriter and photographer. As well as being one third of comedy-poets The Scaffold he was co-founder of super-group GRIMMS and successful solo artist.
However it’s the reissue of the legendary McGough and McGear album that draws us here. Recorded in 1967 and assisted in production by his brother Paul, musicians on the record included Jimi Hendrix, Graham Nash, Dave Mason and John Mayall.
There’s a dizzying array of new music being released so here’s the best from a range of Strange Brew genres.
Octopus Syng venture further into psychedelia with their marvellous album ‘Hollow Ghost/Rochelle Salt’. Arguably a little more experimental and Floydian in places than some of their earlier releases, it’s all the better for it. That’s not to say their songwriting takes a backseat. Check out the twisted pop of ‘Woman’ and Syd Barrett-esque ‘Lady Florette’ and you’ll want to enter the Octopus Syng world
The Soft Hearted Scientists release their cracking four-part album, ‘Golden Omens’ on 8 July. The whimsical Welsh psychedelists give discerning listeners another masterclass in kitchen sink psychedelia. Favourites include the title track, low-fi stomp of ‘Zeds’, Dick Dale tribute ‘Surferella’ and the ghostly ‘From Broken Glass’. A White Album for the modern era!
Crystal Jacqueline‘s new 7 inch EP ‘Morning Dew’ shows Jacqueline’s and bandmate Icarus Peel’s strength in blasting off 60s gems. The title track adds a psych tinge to the Tim Rose favourite. A special mention goes to the Icarus Peel’s lovely psych-folk original ‘Ivy’ that holds its own amongst its lofty company on this quality 4 song package.
Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards present the haunting single ‘Other Voices 08’ hot on the heels of their superb recent album. As usual this release has all the things that make this band so good. It has a marvellous production splicing elements of pastoral folk and electronica all through a Portuguese lens.
Former John Peel favourite Beau‘s has a new thirteen-song album “An Original Thought”. Released forty-seven years on from his first release on Dandelion it was incredibly written in two weeks. It has all of Trevor’s hallmarks that have built up a new army of fans. As usual the songs are potted with political and historical lyrical thickets containing themes about patriotism, invention and modern-day surveillance. Highlights include the title track, ‘The Patriot’, the 12-string chiming ‘The Thinking of God’ and topical ‘Something Of A Loner’
The Krew, clockwise from top left: Tommy Murray, Beryl Marsden, Steve Aldo, Archie Legget, Eddie Sparrow and Howie Casey (from Bill Harry’s Merseybeat)
British R&B band The Krew had its roots in the early 1960s rock ‘n’ roll outfit, The Krewkats, which featured West Midlands musicians Robert Fielden-Nicholls (rhythm and lead guitar/vocals), John Bradley (bass/vocals), Ted Tunnicliffe (lead guitar) and Don Hawkins (drums).
Tír na nÓg, the Irish songwriting duo of Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell, wrote and recorded some of the finest music to come out of the early 70s folk scene. After releasing three fine albums they separated to embark on new projects before recapturing their muse in recent years.
Last year they released ‘The Dark Dance’, their first studio album in over 40 years. Receiving universal acclaim, it stood proudly with their work on Chrysalis Records all those years ago. They’ve followed this up with a limited live album recorded at The Half Moon, Putney that brings together songs new and old into one set.
The sound on ‘Live At The Half Moon’ is as clear as a bell with a little echo adding to the atmosphere. Leo and Sonny are in great voice throughout and the audience are clearly in raptures.
‘Time Is Like A Promise’ sets the tone, its peerless melody and harmonies reverberating across the Half Moon.
The new material works extremely well including Leo’s ‘Ricochet’ which revisits the duo’s psych prog beginnings. Their live version of the Silver Apples ‘I Have Known Love’ shines whilst the live set also gives them chance to play Sonny’s classic track from his work in Scullion, ‘Eyelids Into Snow’.
‘Live At The Half Moon’ bottles the essence of Tir na nOg, a duo of songwriting equals who have recorded some of the most gorgeous songs of all time.
Fruits de Mer continue to produce oustanding mega rare releases, this time with a lathe-cut 8″ single of Bowie covers.
The set opens with Cary Grace glamming up David’s earthy Black Country Rock with Eno Roxy style synth. Fittingly we then hear Cary’s version of Sound and Vision from David’s magnificent Low album, that wash Cary’s vintage synths with her lovely vocals. This then segues into Consterdine’s sparkling instrumental version of the same track.
Only 50 copies are available at the forthcoming Games For May gig on 29 May at the Half Moon, Putney. With Sendelica, The Honey Pot, Magic Bus , Soft Hearted Scientists it should be quite a night.