Lush – Black Spring

Black Spring was the fourth EP from Lush. It was released just before their debut album.  Allegedly it is their first movement away from Robin Guthrie, but he is still the producer and engineers it.  So the Cocteau style layering and cloudy production is still apparent.  Nothing Natural is the most prominent track on this EP.  The bass drives this song along.  The EP ends with another song off Spooky, Monochrome which is a very Cocteau Twinseque number.  There are two tracks that do not appear on any of the albums.  One is a sublime cover of Beach Boy Dennis Wilson’s Fallin’ in Love.   The other is God’s Gift a sparkly ethereal song that reminds me of dew drops on a sunny morning.

Lush : Black Spring

Nothing Natural
Fallin’ In Love
God’s Gift
Monochrome

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Ride – Tarantula

Probably unlike everyone else, this is not my least favourite Ride album. Black Nite Crash was the single that was released before the album. It is a great single, and I thought that it was a return to form.

I have to admit I was not a fan of the 60s pastiche Carnival of Light.  In that album half the songs were penned by Mark Gardener and the other half by Andy Bell. In Tarantula they were nearly all written by Andy, causing it to be called his solo project.  This was showing the growing tension within the band. It was a miracle that the fifth album was released.

Andy documents Mark’s divorce from the rest of the band, in the song Castle on the Hill.  There is another school of thought that suggests that this is about Alan McGee instead.

A friend of mine, one of the few. Has locked himself away like Howard Hughes. They’re trying to replace him, but they know they never will.  It ain’t the same without him on the castle on the hill.

It is the most heaviest Ride album, but not in a distorted, effects smothered way like Drive Blind.  The heavy sound showed Andy and Mark’s vocals as not quiet strong enough. By the time Tarantula was released the band had split up, and the album was deleted after a week. Sadly Mary Anne is not the Glenn Campbell song, which Spacemen covered so well.

Ride : Tarantula

Black Nite Crash
Sunshine / Nowhere To Run
Dead Man
Walk On Water
Deep Inside My Pocket
Mary Anne
Castle On The Hill
Gonna Be Alright
The Dawn Patrol
Ride The Wind
Burnin’
Starlight Motel

isn’t – Startled Waking Heart

I love this.  isn’t are three guys from Melbourne Australia, and they have previous hardcore punk background, but have moved into shoegaze.  Using there experiences in the hardcore scene you get these banging tracks that have the cathartic inducing feelings which is very reminiscent of Swervedriver.  It is refreshing that isn’t aren’t looking to recreate shoegaze in the same way Ride, Chapterhouse  and Slowdive did.  The vocals are forthright and the music is out there.  They are not hiding behind mountains of effects, they don’t need to.

The Family Cat – Remember What it is That You Love

The follow up single to the critically acclaimed debut the Tom Verlaine single.  Remember What It Is That You Love was released on Bad Girl Records, and covered by Cud. The Family Cat stood out because they had three guitarists in the line-up and a very poppy, melodic and catchy armoury of songs. It is not true that they were from Yeovil.  They were mainly from Cornwall, which is probably why their debut album was called Tell’em were Surfin’.  To my knowledge they were the the first people to produce FCUK (Family Cat UK) T-Shirts.  These had a Mod Target on them, and came out long before French Connection started to use the say logo and text.

The Family Cat : Remember What it is That You Love

Remember What It is That You Love
Push comes to Shove
(Thought I’d Died) and gone to Heaven

Spiritualized : Tripping in Sweden

I have been lucky enough to get tickets to see Spiritualized at the Royal Festival Hall performing Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space. The first time I saw Spiritualized was back in 1992 at Glastonbury. They were playing during the day and everyone was sat down. As I sat there listening, great walls of sound washed over me. Since then I have seen them at Bristol Colston Hall, Portsmouth Pyramids, Exeter Lemongrove, the Eden Project, Salisbury Arts centre, Bristol Bierkeller, Royal Festival Hall, the Albert Hall and at Glastonbury in 1998. They are such a tight outfit that when I saw other bands around the same time they seemed sloppy.

I brought Tripping in Sweden at a record fair, because I was so desperate for some more material.  It was my first CD bootleg.  The first 9 tracks are from the Lollipop festival 1997 in Sweden and the last 3 tracks were recorded live at Glasgow 15th March 1998

Spiritualized : Tripping in Sweden

Cop Shoot Cop 
Shine a Light
Electric Mainline
Electricity
No God, Only Religion
Broken Heart
Come Together
Think I’m in Love
Oh Happy Day
Home of the Brave
Sway
200 Bars

BIKE – Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request

Brazilian post-Tropicália band, BIKE, reveal their third album and plans for a European tour this autumn.

“Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is a cosmic leap from the band’s hallucinogenic debut album “1943”, released in 2015. It pushes the boundaries of psychedelia, fusing timbales and native indigenous percussion to create its own richly exotic universe of sound and texture.

Percussionist Brenno Balbino says: “After three years on the road, experiencing musical influences from across the world we have had the opportunity to create a sound that is global without sacrificing our truly unique Brazilian rhythms and roots. The result is an album that explores the boundaries of what it is to be human through Psilocybin and the occult power of nature.”

BIKE will be touring the album across Europe in the Autumn with dates and venues to be announced in the summer. This year integrating the lineup of the Swiss NOX ORAE festival.

“Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is performed by BIKE; Julito Cavalcante (guitar/vocals), Diego Xavier (guitar/vocals), João Felipe (bass), Daniel Fumega (drums) and Brenno Balbino (synth/percussion) in collaboration with Bonifrate for track ‘Inga’ and Tagore for ‘Cavalo’.

The name of the album is inspired by The Rolling Stones masterpiece, “Their Satanic Majesties Request”(1967), and the iconic Brian Jonestown Massacre, “Their Satanic Majesties’ Second Request” (1996). “Their Shamanic Majesties’ Third Request” is the first album released to be released by new Brazilian label Quadrado Mágico.

BIKE was the brainchild of musician and producer Julito Cavalcante and was born out of his experiences with hallucinogenic substances as well as the resurgence of the rich and diverse underground movement that defined Brazilian music more than 40 years before: Tropicália.

The Tropicália movement of the late 60s was a short-lived, though immensely prolific musical stable that combined samba or forró with experimentalism and psychedelia. Tropicália engaged with political issues that had real relevance to the people of Brazil, still living under a military dictatorship. The founders of this movement, musicians such as Gilberto Gil , Tom Zé , Gal Costa , and Rogério Duprat with band Os Mutantes were often persecuted and many exiled by the Brazilian government. It was art influencing and being influenced by the social politic. It coincided with the hippy counterculture sweeping Europe at the time and while it was brutally curtailed it undoubtedly helped to redefine Brazil’s relationship with its people and the rest of the world.

Trembling Blue Stars – Broken By Whispers

The Trembling Blue Stars are lead by former Field Mice frontman and Northern Picture Library member Bobby Wratton. They were meant to be a one album side project, but such was the success of Her Handwriting the debut album, Wratton drafted a band.  The songs deal with Wratten’s deteriorating relationship and subsequent break-up with former girlfriend and Field Mice band member Annemari Davies.  A sensitive melodrama evolves in this album.

Just as Wratten seems locked in a relationship that no longer exists, the Trembling Blue Stars are in a Sarah Records time warp. This is not a bad thing in my view, but it is as if the last decade never happened.  It has the distinct qualities that your would expect from a former Field Mice member. Sometimes I Still Feel the Bruise has a tiny piece of synth on it. To Leave It Now has a French voice over (slightly pretentious) . The whole album is mostly at a slow tempo, heart breaking lyrics, melancholy and very beautiful melodies.

What originally drew me to this album was the single from this Dark Eyes.  It was more radio friendly than the rest of the album and the most akin to The Field Mice

Dismissed by Pitchfork as fey-pop (I never rated that site).  Many other reviews cite this album as depressing; ‘oh come on’ I spent my pre-teens in a household that listened to Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan and then I discovered Joy Division.  This is not depressing.  But the psychiatric couch of Bobby Wratton

Trembling Blue Stars : Broken By Whispers

Ripples
She Just Couldn’t Stay
Sometimes I Still Feel The Bruise
To Leave It Now
Fragile
I No Longer Know Anything
Back To You
Birthday Girl
Snow Showers
Sleep
Dark Eyes