The Wicked Whispers – Maps of the Mystic

Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 20:39 | Category : Reviews
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Review by Jason Barnard

Electone Records

Liverpool’s The Wicked Whispers stake their claim to be hottest band in Britain with their new release. They’ve been tantalizing listeners over the past over three years and their debut long player is well worth the wait. There’s something effortlessly cool about the group however they have the songs and the sound to match.

Maps of the Mystic

Long player, Maps of the Mystic’s opener ‘Chronological Astronaut’ emphasizes mod soul grooves and is a great scene setter for the album themes of love and (unpretentiously) the meaning of life. Pigeon holing their sound is tricky – certainly Arthur Lee’s Love are in the mix, maybe throw in a dash of the La’s, jot of Byrds country and sprinkling of northern soul.

Mike Murphy’s songwriting is particularly strong  – from the lilting melodies of ‘Flying ’round in Circles’ to ballad ‘I’d Follow You Anywhere’ that, if not a hit for The Wicked Whispers, could easily be reinterpreted successfully by a solo singer. ‘Odyssey Mile’ finishes Maps of the Mystic on an upbeat note with its Doors’y meets Lee Powers stomp highlighting the records great production. This is testament to the band and Mike Murphy’s commitment to perfection.

Maps of the Mystic is available on gatefold 12″ Vinyl, CD with 16 page colour booklet or downloadable from iTunes, Amazon MP3 and more.

Further information: 

Martin Newell – Cleaners From Venus

Saturday, 20 September 2014, 13:28 | Category : Podcasts
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To mark the release of his excellent album Return To Bohemia, Martin Newell of the Cleaners From Venus joins Strange Brew host Jason Barnard to play his favourite tracks from his own and other artists careers.

Martin Newell

  1. Cleaners From Venus – Illya Kuryakin Looked At Me (Single A-side, Ammunition Communications, 1987)
  2. John Barry ‎– Main Title (The Ipcress File, CBS, 1965)
  3. Patti Page – Old Cape Cod (Single A-side, Mercury, 1957)
  4. Georgie Fame – Sunny (Single A-side, Columbia, 1965)
  5. The Yardbirds – Heart Full of Soul (Single A-side, Columbia, 1965)
  6. The Pink Fairies – Do It (Never Neverland, Polydor, 1971)
  7. Plod – Neo City (Velvet Tinmine, RPM, 2003, rec 1975)
  8. Aphrodite’s Child – Break (666 – The Apocalypse of John, 13/18, Vertigo, 1972)
  9. Cleaners from Venus – Only A Shadow (Midnight Cleaners, Man At The Off Licence, 1982)
  10. Cleaners from Venus – Summer In A Small Town (Under Wartime Conditions, Man At The Off Licence, 1984)
  11. Léo Ferré- La “The Nana” (Amour Anarchie, Braclay (Fr), 1970)
  12. Martin Newell – Goodbye Dreaming Fields (The Greatest Living Englishman, Humbug, 1993)
  13. The Zombies – Leave Me Be (Single A-side, Decca, 1964)
  14. Martin Newell – Your Winter Garden (The Spirit Cage, Cherry Red, 2000)
  15. Cleaners From Venus – The Days of May (Return to Bohemia, Soft Bodies Records, 2014)

Take a journey from the mid 60s to the present day with the wild man of Wivenhoe.

Suzi Quatro – The Girl From Detroit City

Saturday, 13 September 2014, 9:09 | Category : News, Reviews
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Cherry Red – Released 27 October 2014

I’ve had the privilege of getting an early copy of Suzi Quatro’s new 4 CD career spanning box set. It covers her half century in the music biz and chronological collections can often highlight an artist’s creative decline. But this isn’t the case with ‘The Girl From Detroit City’ with many highlights among its eclectic 82 tracks.

The Girl From Detroit City  Suzi Quatro

Disc 1 goes all the way back to the late 60s to Suzi’s all-girl band, The Pleasure Seekers with the raw Detroit garage rock of ‘The Way To Die’. The set then follows Suzi over the Atlantic with debut ‘Rolling Stone’ featuring Hot Chocolate’s Errol Brown, before embarking on a string of Chinn-Chapman hits including ‘Can The Can’, ’48 Crash’, ‘Daytona Demon’ and ‘Devil Gate Drive’.

Suzi Quatro - Can The Can (1973)
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But this is not just about the greatest hits, rocker ‘Glycerine Queen’ and mid-tempo ballad ‘Michael’ shows Suzi and partner Len Tuckey could match their glam-rock hitmakers. By the late 70s Suzi’s sound had moved on but one listen to the soulful country styled ‘American Lady’ shows she still had ‘it’. As we reach the 80s and disc two the production isn’t always to my taste although ‘Lonely Is The Hardest’ and ‘Hollywood’ are favourites.

Suzi Quatro " Hollywood "
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Disc three takes us up-to-date. In fact the past 10 years have seen a creative and critical renaissance and there’s plenty of space to hear the results. 2006’s ‘Back To The Drive’ returns Suzi to her rocking best and her decision to cover Rhianna’s ‘Breaking Dishes’ is inspired (do check it out). Disc four collects a host of unreleased tracks from the bluesy ‘Curly Hair For Sale’ to her elegant collaboration with Jeff Beck, a cover of The Eagles favourite ‘Desperado’.

Suzi Quatro - Back To The Drive Music Video HD 2006
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The set’s title track is ‘The Girl From Detroit City’ which is also released as a single later this month. Written and produced by Mike Chapman, the song tells Suzi’s story of her early days and journey to fame. It’s a change in sound again, with an emotive production and heartfelt vocals. If this was her final track she could justly say to have finished on a high. However you get the feeling that there’s much more to come from the girl from Detroit City.

Papernut Cambridge – There’s No Underground

Wednesday, 3 September 2014, 20:31 | Category : Reviews
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Gare Du Nord

Review by Jason Barnard

Former Death In Vegas member Ian Button has corralled a wide range of creative forces for his second album under his Papernut Cambridge brand. They take a Supersonic Rocket Trip to the days Magpie, choppers and Ronno-Bowie stealing Top of The Pops.


“There’s No Underground” mixes gentle 70s glitter (When She Said She Said), dreamy prog-psych (The Long Shadows of Lee) and shameless retro pop (Rock and Roll Sunday Afternoon City Lights). Available on a Vinyl 7” triple set and digital formats it’s an extremely enjoyable listen.  Papernut Cambridge are yet another band that in a different reality would be deservedly chart bound.

01 Papernut Cambridge - When She Said What She Said [Gare du Nord Records]
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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.

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.


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:

Mark Waters