Chapterhouse – Mesmerise

After the debut album Reading’s Chapterhouse tried a different tack.  Mesmerise was unlike anything they had done previously and it marks a high point in their career.  The production was much clearer on this EP too

In the title track a piano tinkles at the beginning, soft electronic beats and trademark floaty vocals appear. It is a lazy hazy summers day of a song rather than the melancholic moods that were associated with indie music at this time.  Precious One is more like the Chapterhouse that we know and love, with the synth buried deeply in the song and the guitars at the forefront.  The guitar work does sound a bit like the Cocteau Twins.

Summer Chill has a paper thin feel with soft weak vocals perched on a delicate effervescent guitar wash and light percussion buried down deep. Then We’ll Rise finishes the EP on a more upbeat note with both acoustic and electric guitar, but the vocals are still quiet.

Chapterhouse : Mesmerise

Mesmerise 
Precious One
Summer Chill
Then We’ll Rise

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See See Rider – See See Rider EP

This EP is sometimes called the She Sings Alone EP. Even I was unsure what its name was. Particularly as it was quite fashionable at the time to have no writing on the record sleeve.  This was their debut single, which was released to the excited indie world in March 1990. No one would of realised that See See Rider would become one of the bands with the shortest discography ever.

As they hailed from East Kilbride, home of the Jesus and Marychain, they drafted in Mary Chain’s Douglas Hart to play on early recordings.  He appears on this EP playing bass on See See.

On She Sings Alone May Rock Marshall’s singing is very Nico. Snowfall has a chugging T.Rex swagger and the finale See See has vocal enunciated in a Leonard Cohen style.

See See Rider : See See Rider EP

She Sings Alone
Snowfall
Slip So Slow
See See

Grabbel and The Final Cut : You Are The Sun EP

In early 2018 Grabbel and The Final Cut were approached by Russian sound engineer/producer Sergey Bogaev with regard to a possible collaboration. The band liked the idea of having some songs from their MMXVI album getting remixed, and so they sent a first set of multi-tracks over to Siberia, where Sergey runs the Unstoppable Recordings Studio.

What Sergey did was clean up the tracks and remove much of the distortion out of the songs.  The remix of The Pioneer makes the original sound like it was recorded at the bottom of a well, the reverb was removed from the vocals and guitars.  The title song You Are The Sun (remix) is very faithful to the original, but sounding more clean and pristine.

Midway Still – I Won’t Try

In 2010 I saw Midway Still at the Cavern Club in Exeter.  The last time I had seen them was 18 years ago in Glastonbury in 1992 and at the Joiners Arms in Southampton in December 1991. It felt like the last 20 years had not happened.

Midway Still are well ’better than before’, excuse the pun. The years have been kinder to them than me. They quipped during the set, ’Hi, we were big in the early nineties, not a lot has changed since then Tories are still in power.’  It was a mixture of old and new songs. The new stuff is just as good as anything that they have done before.  I would urge anyone who likes Midway Still to go and buy the new album from Boss Tuneage.

They finished their set with their first single I Won’t Try.  After the show I was determined to get my hands on a Midway Still, Marks & Spencer parody T-Shirt.  This involved asking a band member. I always go to pieces if I have to speak to anyone that is an indie hero of mine.  I stopped Paul Thomson and asked to buy a t-shirt.  I said that I saw them 18 years ago. Paul told me that they were much tighter as a band now, this I truly believe.  Then I went to pieces and started jabbering on about the old days.

 

Midway Still : I Won’t Try

I Won’t Try
Apple
Daynight

This Scarlet Train – Fimbria

This is the solitary release from the Scottish trio from Falkirk. Well, they were only together for a year, during 1986 – 1987.  They were signed to Nightshift records which was run by Brian Guthrie (Robin’s brother).

Comparisons have been made to The Field Mice, but it reminds me of The Bodines. This Scarlet Train has a very strong rhythm section like The Bodines. The outcome is a sound that is darker and not so sweet as The Field Mice, but still beautiful and dreamy.

This Scarlet Train – Fimbria

Picture Frame
Autumnhood
Candice
Kistvaen
Still Rain
Lilyhaze

Echo & the Bunnymen – Evergreen

Back in June this year I got to see Echo & the Bunnymen at Bristol supported by Peter Hook and the Jesus and Mary Chain.  It was a broad spectrum of songs from throughout their career.  I first got into the Bunnymen with this album.  At the time I found their 80s material a bit dated (my view on this changed in later years).

It has maturity, and at the time it was released the bands in the scene had none of this. It was welcomed into the charts and probably picked up fans who delved into the back catalogue. Evergreen came out in 1997 and the last previous album by the Bunnymen came out in 1988.

In retrospect it has been panned by reviewers, as too commercially safe indie by numbers.  At the time I loved the album as much as Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space, Ten Rapid and Boy with the Arab Strap.  All these classics were released at the same time.  But Evergreen does not enjoy as many plays as the others now.

I did enjoy Ian McCulloch and Will Sergeant’s other 90s outfit Electrafixion.  This showcased some really driven guitar piece by Sergeant I think the Bunnymen reformed because of the name. There is a fanbase around the Bunnymen that Electrafixion could not get a foothold in.

The cover of the album is very similar to Crocodiles. This is not the only nod to their back catalogue, Just a Touch Away has an orchestral part which is very like their album Ocean Rain.  Unaccredited singer Liam Gallagher appeared on the album in Nothing Lasts Forever. This is the best song on the album but it has nothing to do with the appearance of Liam.

Echo & the Bunnymen : Evergreen

Don’t Let It Get You Down
In My Time
I Want To Be There (When You Come)
Evergreen
I’ll Fly Tonight
Nothing Lasts Forever
Baseball Bill
Altamont
Just A Touch Away
Empire State Halo
Too Young To Kneel
Forgiven

Sun Scream – Big Red Lazy Sun

Last week I had the pleasure of watching the Brian Jonestown Massacre play about 300 yards from where I live.  Supporting them were Sun Scream, I was really impressed with them and the show was psychedelically chaotic, not unlike Yerself is Steam era Mercury Rev.  I was mesmerised by bassists Tom Lawrence’s incredibly long fingers and the way they worked through the basslines.  After the the show I spoke to lead guitarist Emily Wallace and mentioned that I was a music blogger, I said that I write a piece about them.  She was lovely but probably thought I was after a free t-shirt.

I got in contact with the band and asked lead singer James Green a few questions and asked him to write a quick bio.  So I will hand you over psychedelic sonically distorted world of Sun Scream.

Psychedelic Rock band Sun Scream from Suffolk, release their new EP Big Red Lazy Sun on Vinyl Hunter recordings, telling tales of Lynchian nightmares and lone desert wanderers all soundtracked to their own brand of psychedelic rock. The band enjoys employing a DIY ethos, which is present with the release of this new EP. Lead guitarist Emily Wallace designed all the artwork for the both the record sleeve and the inner, perfectly illustrating the dusty and sprawling sound of this release. This new EP comes of the back of a successful year for the band: playing Latitude Festival, Rough Trade Recommends show and support for bands such as the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Levitation Room. A Big Red Lazy Sun is coming and Sun Scream hope you join them on their strange kaleidoscope picture puzzle journey.

What are you working on right now?  I know you are on tour but what else is going on? 

-We have just supported the Brian Jonestown Massacre which has been a dream come true for us! But we are on the verge of releasing our debut vinyl EP ‘Big Red Lazy Sun’ through Vinyl Hunter Recordings on October 27th! This is one of our most exciting moments as a band and we have put our all into to project. Our lead guitarist, Emily Wallace, illustrated the cover, labels, inner leave etc. We have limited edition coloured vinyl and release shows at Rough Trade East (October 24th) and Vinyl Hunter, Bury St Edmunds (October 27th)! We have a link on our social medias via a Justgiving page if anyone would like to pre-order!

What are the plans for the future?

Keep being prolific as possible: writing tunes, playing brilliant gigs and releasing our music and artwork! We have really built our band on a DIY ethos by putting on our own ‘psych nights’, designing our own merch and releasing Zines. I know festival season has just finished, but we would love to start planning next years season; we played Latitude Festival this year and that was amazing, so we would love more opportunities like that.

How do you feel about the internet in the music business? Does it give you a wider audience or does it encourage pirating?

For a band like us it helps massively! When you’re not a household name you can discover our music instantaneously. See our name on a gig poster, or in a record shop? Quickly discover us on a streaming platform! Of course, we always want to push physical format, as it is a more exciting form of media. However, the internet in the music business serves its place.

What new music do you like?

Emily is pretty involved with the Brighton Psych scene as she studies down in the city, see she’s many brilliant new bands and introduces them to on our radar. Something Leather, are really worth checking out as they have a ferocious organ driven sound. The new Kikagaku Moyo album is fantastic, great psych rock from Japan. Plus, Juniore from France are brilliant.

What are your are your influences and icons?

All the classic psych acts are a huge influence on us, both individually and as a collective. We all formed over a love of bands such as Pink Floyd, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Thee Oh Sees. Our drummer Jamie looks to drummers such as Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Tom our bassist a Paul McCartney and Roger Waters feel. Whilst myself (James) find inspiration in bands such as Ride, Storm in Heaven era Verve and post rock acts like God Speed You! Black Emperor.

Any last words?

Just a little plug for our new EP Big Red Lazy Sun on LTD vinyl. We have copies available at our show on the 24th October at Rough Trade East and at the EP launch Vinyl Hunter, Bury St Edmunds October 27th; from that date onwards you ill be able to buy online via Vinyl Hunter and Rough Trade!!

Pre-order Big Red Lazy Sun here