Completing the Circle

I am feeling inordinately pleased with myself at the moment – I have some beautiful music cascading through my headphones and the feeling that I’ve somehow completed the circle. (Probably should add, in the interests of unflinching journalistic accuracy, that I have a large glass of red at my side as well…)

Not sure if you’ll remember (why would you?) my post about the new Welsh music in August loosely based on a few acts I saw at Green Man this year. Well, one of the thing that made me chuckle over the weekend, was the way that H Hawkline, Cate le Bon and Sweet Baboo all played in each others’ backing bands for their various slots over the three days; a stirring gesture of harmony that I rather appreciated. I remember wondering at the time whether the drummer had a band too…

Silly me, of course he does. (Turns out he’s quite good too…)

R Seiliog

Yup! The aforementioned drummer with Hawkline et al, calls himself R Seiliog and has just put out his first EP on Peski Records called Shuffles.  But quite apart from the pleasing symmetry of all this, it turns out that the record’s an absolute stonker.

Someone asked my opinion of the current wave of Welsh artists recently and I got thinking about their similarities and influences, which broadly follow similar goofy, psychedelic paths. If you wanted to be unkind (and I don’t), by now there’s a certain template you can follow – sixties-influences, Welsh-speaking, willing to be experimental, disarmingly casual, shambling almost…

I don’t think R Seiliog got the memo about new Welsh music, either that or maybe he just chose to ignore it. No Welsh language here, (no language at all, in fact), no acoustic Green Man-type instruments, no DIY keyboard sounds… Shuffles is all playful electronic noodling, bizarre loops, oscillations and tinklings, mischievous buzz and hum. (One of the Blogs I read, referred to “kosmische rhythms” – wish I’d thought of that…). To use my favourite word of the summer, it’s all about the mo-to-rik… and to use my favourite band of the summer, it’s all a bit Yeti Lane.

Honestly, you’re gonna love it!

I held the hand that threw the stone…

As I listen to the recordings, last week’s Gravenhurst gig in Bristol is growing and growing in my mind. They’ve come out really well, Talbot’s complex playing and brittle voice are very clear, as are the strength of his songs and how personable and likeable the man is.

Here are three more songs, (you really should listen to these…)


I Turn My Face to the Forest Floor

Black Holes in the Sand



I think I’m going to dig the End of the Road tape out…

The dead see through the eyes of the living

Standing at the Louisiana, Tuesday night, waiting for a graceful Gravenhurst to make their way into a stuffy upper room, I was struck by the thought that I’d not been here for a good three months. I don’t mean “here at the Louie” (my maiden visit, as you’re asking), but “here, tippy-toed with excitement in front of an empty stage, sound-check completed, guitars tuned and a-ready, waiting for some… Live Music once again”.


In short, Gravenhurst are the first band I’ve seen since the Summer, since the heady (muddy) days of End of the Road, the last act I saw that weekend being… the chubby songsmith himself.

Since then, I’ve got copies of “The Western Lands”, which I know pretty well now, and this year’s “A Ghost in Daylight”, which I know less well, but which is being touted amongst those who know as a runner for the “best of ‘12” gongs.

He’s a funny looking bloke, Nick Talbot, not yer colour-by-numbers rock star, glasses, plain shirt and jeans, a little on the plump side; but these are, of course, all good, nay exemplary, reasons to like the man.

Apart from this though, it can’t be denied that the man can write a good tune, and is a deceptively good guitar player. Ably backed by Rachel Lancaster on bass, keyboards and vocals and a boisterous Claire Adams on percussion and vocals, Talbot put on a really accomplished evening, running through a good handful of songs from the two albums I knew and some new-to-me ( though I suspect, old) songs that were similarly spell-binding.

Most of the time, the guitar playing and backing was delicate and well-constructed, but there were moments when all players cut loose and let themselves go a little. The extended feedback ending to the main set was particularly cathartic.

I do like his words, as well, languidly delivered, which haunt, occasionally taunt but refuse to be pinned down. One of the songs I didn’t know, Cities Beneath the Sea, was particularly impressive and has been on my mind all week, with its compelling image of the dead powerless to stop us repeating their mistakes. Powerful thoughts…

I’ll leave you with a recording of that song from the night, but I hope to put a few more up in due course..

Cities Beneath the Sea

I believe this was Gravenhurst’s last date of their UK tour, but I’m sure he’ll be along soon and when he is, I recommend (urge) you to see them. Classy stuff…

You won’t learn to walk, but you’ll dive into the deepest rivers…

I’ve spent a lot of the weekend bumming around Bandcamp, looking for unnoticed gems and generally losing myself. I’ve not really bothered before, thought it might be a bit of a waste of time, but I’ve been genuinely surprised how much good music there is available there.

Bandcamp is a bit like Myspace used to be like when I first started the Blog (before it went over all Facebook) – lots of interesting music, (some of it free) all linkable, and even a chance to buy direct from artist. (Take that, HMV!)


Here’s some lovely stuff from Philadelphia in the shape of ethereal, experimental duo, Eskimeaux who do a really nice line in measured, drawn out and thoughtful songs, decorated elaborately with … noises. Their current record, Eskimeaux, is available for $5, half of which goes to Philadelphia food banks, but a previous record, I am a Spiral, is free to download. It features dreamy, slightly off-kilter, Cocorosie-ish folk songs punctuated by combinations of feedback effects, banjo riffs, harmonium and even some ukulele. Class!

Have a listen to this from Eskimeaux – “Unititled”: