Bees took the wedding ring from my finger

OK, one more from Camera Obscura and then I guess I should give it a rest for a while. Such a great song though…

Verdure

Verdure is apparently the side project of a feller called Donovan Quinn, who is part of the more well-known Skygreen Leopards. I’ll confess, however, that I’m not actually up to scratch on the Leopards either, but a brief scout around yields a few freebies on the Internet which sound pretty good.

The Verdure track, however, is quite a different beast. It actually sounds like a darker more awkward version of some of the Flipron stuff I’ve talked about before. He’s clearly doing a rather wheezy Waits-y thing here and it works pretty well to these ears. He starts with a rather ghostly slide guitar and organ combination and finishes on a blistering and obstinately clumsy electric guitar piece. Sandwiched between these rather worn out twin pillars there are some great gothic lines that made me smile.

There is an album out and still available from Camera Obscura, called The Telescope Dream Patterns, which I will try and get hold of.

I’m posting the Camera Obscura track, plus one of the Skygreen Leopard tracks that you can snag from their very worthy site.

Graveyard Porchlight – Verdure

Julianne, Patron of Thieves – Skygreen Leopards

Donovan is actually playing in Bristol next week, along with Little Wings, I wonder if I can get along…

You recall the way her breath sounded when she came

The more I go through the Camera Obscura site, the more I find some absolute gems. Camera Obscura, I should say, is nothing to with the Glasgow Indie band from the 90s, but is an independent label passed in Australia. I’ve always been rather dismissive of Australian music but I’m going to have to give it another look, if this label is anything to go by.

Kiefer-Pitcher

The album they seem to be plugging right now is called “To All Dead Sailors” by Christian Kiefer and Jefferson Pitcher. Camera Obscura describe it thus:

“A collection of songs, instrumentals, and sonic experiments, this is an album that explores the mystery of the sea: its violence, its beauty, its grace.”

(Which now I’ve pasted it here seems a little on the pretentious side, but having heard the freebie from the site, “Carpenters and Sailors”, I’m prepared to put it down to understandable over-exuberance…)

Anyway, if these things impress you, it turns out that I’m not the only one going on about this record, as it goes, Pitchfork have posted this 7.5 review:

“To All Dead Sailors, mirroring the singers’ tone, is dense with longing. Each song seems to strain against the boundary of its simple instrumental palette, as if the depth of feeling contained inside exceeds the size of the well.”

(These things do, of course, impress me.)

Both of these guys seem to have a fairly decent collection of previous albums which I shall do some exploring of in the next few weeks, and from what I can tell most of their music is quite moody and formless (I’m struggling to avoid saying “ambient”) – sonic experiments, if you will.

Can’t find any downloads available for Jefferson Pitcher – his site seems to be a bit of a work in progress. There are, however, a couple of Christian Kiefer songs for download from Camera Obscura, (one of which I’ll put up here), which are rather ethereal-sounding but still pretty attractive.

They obviously do write ordinary songs, however, because there is one download from the joint album, which is an absolute blinder. As I’ve said, it’s called “Carpenters and Sailors”, and it’s just beautiful – the Pitchfork phrase “dense with longing” seems really appropriate, and is of course one I wish I’d coined myself. Unfortunately, the album hasn’t turned up on Emusic yet, but it’s surely only a matter of time… It’s one I shall definitely be getting.

Have a listen

Carpenters and Sailors – Kiefer-Pitcher

Kalmykov (Poppies) – Christian Kiefer

To hell with it!

Let’s change everything!

I’m sure I had good reasons, but right now I can’t for the life of me remember why, when I started this Blog, I decided to limit myself to UK bands, and not cover music from outside these isles. Seems particularly pointless the more I think of it, especially as these days, more than ever, the whole concept of “local” is even harder to define than it ever was. Are Bristol bands more local to me than American ones who come over here and play? Is a Canadian band with multiple downloads free on their site and albums on sale at Emusic, somehow less local than a Gloucester band whose singer lives in the street next to me? Not really.

So, I’m taking Partly Porpoise off on its travels. We’re packing our bags, slapping on the sun cream and anxiously flinging clothes from our bags looking for those passports I know I put in the side pocket…

And first stop is Italy. Well, Australia, sort of.

Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick

I’ve been hanging around the site of Australian label Camera Obscura recently, with some very rewarding finds, the first of which I’ll share here.

Ultraviolet Makes Me Sick are a largely instrumental three piece from Italy, who have been playing largely experimental music together for a good few years. I’ve never been especially into post-rock instrumental groups – I’m thinking of Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros – they just don’t really do it for me. And UVMMS (theirs not mine) do at times sound a bit like these bands, but on some tracks they sound really interesting, almost dub-y, with lots of echo and reverb.

Although, I’m not sure that’s a sound they’d especially want to be associated with – their site makes some rather grand statements about being

“completely able to express ourselves in music and give music the right deepness, capturing harmonies in film-like tunes, inspired by images and sensations, soundtracks of inner feelings”.

That’s right. What he said.

Whatever, I really like the track Camera Obscura are giving away on their site, “Bad Ideas Trapped in Empty Bottles”. There’s another available on their site too, but there are also three tracks you can snag from the UVMMS site itself, one of which I’m offering here too.

Bad Ideas Trapped in Empty Bottles

Milk

You can get both of the band’s existing albums on Emusic, and from Camera Obscura direct.

You can jump, you can holler…

Well I don’t know how we’ve got here, but here we are again, another Sunday, another week gone by. Afraid I don’t have anything “new” new but I do have the second Lucky Seven, another mixed bag of records I wish someone had told me about sooner.

I’m particularly keen on the Dr Alimantado track, an absolute stunner by a somewhat eccentric Jamaican genius. Yeah another one…

The Best Dressed Chicken in Town – Dr Alimantado
Long Shot (Kick de Bucket) – The Pioneers
Howlin’ for my Baby – Howlin’ Wolf
She Said Yeah – Flamin’ Groovies
The Second Line – Clinic
Zig Zag Wanderer – Captain Beefheart
One of Us Is Dead – The Earlies

Looking at this again, there are only a couple of tracks less than 25 years old, but they all sound pretty fresh to me.

Lucky Seven #2

Have a listen (and a good week)

Mother, remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry?

Somehow, it’s been a week since I went to probably the best gig I’ve been to all year. And somehow, I’ve not yet got round to writing about it.



Iron & Wine

Last Sunday, not deterred by the disappointing Davey Graham gig, Josie and I ventured over to St George’s in Bristol once more, this time to see one of our favourite bands, Sam Beam’s Iron & Wine.

The signs from the beginning were better than last week – no tales of legendary unreliability, no sightings of the artist drinking enthusiastically in the bar beforehand, no driver stealing nervously out onto the stage, guitar in hand…

In fact, the whole thing was completely different from the start, Beam having assembled an eight-piece band, including two members of Calexico, guesting on pedal steel and other guitars; and straight away the sound they made was quite beautiful, not to say breath-taking at times.

The best of Beam’s songs are really quite moving affairs, and he has a strikingly soft voice that adds to this; and it was a shame at times that you couldn’t hear it as well as you can on records. I didn’t worry about that too much because the beefed up, almost funky band he’d put together made each song a really good listen with the sheer scale of their sound. I loved the different arrangements and the variety of different guitar, keyboard and percussion styles they used. It was a bit of a feast really.

I attempted to record the whole evening, but in typical cack-handed fashion managed to lose most of it. I do, however, have three tracks from the evening which I think are worth hearing – although there is a bit of crackle on the second one…

Altogether a really great evening, and if you get the chance…. (but you don’t need me to tell you that, eh?)

House by the Sea (Live at St George’s)

Upward Over the Mountain (Live at St George’s)

Flightless Bird, American Mouth (Live at St George’s)

I’ve got reckless eyeballs; I’ve got a suicidal heart.

I’ve been thinking of changing things around on here for a while now. I just don’t get a lot of time to post as regularly as other Blogs do, and one way or another don’t get the opportunity to plug as much new UK music as I hoped I would when I started off. (Why do bands not give away mp3s on their Myspace pages anymore?)

So, anyway, I’m going to make a bit of a diversion. My original intention had always been to try to plug new bands that I might have seen or reasonably expect to see in the near future. I’ve also tried to avoid posting any tracks that weren’t freely and legally available already. Well, I’ve been kind of stretching those rules for a while now so it seems silly not to dispense with them altogether, really.

Lucky Seven

And so, ladies and gentlemen, I give you “Lucky Seven”, an occasional freebie I intend to post in times when this Blog is looking increasingly cobwebby. Working on (and stretching) the premise that new music doesn’t actually have to be new, as such, I’m going to put together a bunch of tracks that have recently forced their way into my consciousness for the first time, or possibly for the first time in a while. I’ll try to keep it interesting, and hopefully continue to introduce you all to some new music even if it’s not actually – well you get it, right?

I’ll still keep making posts on genuinely new stuff and on the odd shindigs I venture out to, but in the meantime, here’s Lucky Seven #1

1 – The Good Mr Square – The Pretty Things
2 – Mr Moto – The Duo-Tones
3 – Ghost Rider – Suicide
4 – Cry of the Werewolf – Scientist
5 – Lucky Seven –The Skatalites
6 – Average Guy – Johnny Dowd
7 – Freedom – Yabby You

It’s a deliberately mixed bag, and they’re all great tracks, but I can certainly recommend to you the Johnny Dowd and Duo-Tones tracks, both taken from albums recently bought from Emusic, the former a delightfully cracked and miserable country blues artist, and the latter an acoustic take on some classic surf records. Enjoy.

Lucky Seven #1

*As ever, if anyone sees any of these tracks as offending or ripping them off in any way, give us a shout and I’ll take them down.

Probably.