Posts filed under ‘UK post-rock’

Papa Sprain Promo Cassette

Papa Sprain - Finglas After the Flood

Papa Sprain - Finglas After the Flood

The image above is a scan of Chris Sharp’s personal copy of Finglas After the Flood by Papa Sprain. Chris, coincidentally the very same Wire magazine journalist who wrote a glowing review of connect_icut’s They Me the Secret Beaches, contacted this here blog totally out of the blue, in order to supply this evidence that PS’s legendary lost album really does exist.

In fact, this here blog was already well aware of the album’s reality and is in the unenviable position of being able to let you know that it is not, in fact, a misunderstood classic. And you won’t be seeing it posted here any time soon. Perhaps understandably, everyone concerned seems happy for Finglas to remain under wraps.

Instead, why not enjoy a couple of rare gems from the poppier end of Papa Sprain’s musical spectrum? Namely, a Donovan cover (made in collaboration with Butterfly Child) and a dance remix of the band’s first single.
Papa Sprain & Butterfly Child – “Lalena”
Papa Sprain – “Flying to Vegas (Remix)”

Watch this space for more PS-related news in the near future, hopefully.

February 8, 2010 at 9:00 am 3 comments

Seefeel – “Sway”

Seefeel

Seefeel

“Sway” has been floating around the Internet for a little while now. It appears to be some kinda live recording of a new Seefeel song, made from the audience at a Warp Records showcase in Paris, last year. This would seem like tentative confirmation of rumours  that the legendary, recently-reformed UK post-rock act is working on a new album. If any of you have additional information regarding this topic, please do share it via the comments box.

January 6, 2010 at 6:53 pm 3 comments

Best Mixtape Evar: King Midas Sound

King Midas Sound - FACT Mix 103

King Midas Sound - FACT Mix 103

An astonishing mix from Kevin Martin and company, via FACT magazine, featuring tunes from their wonderful debut album plus tracks by Lovejoys, Burial, Jacob Miller, Gregory Isaacs, Sade, Rhythm & Sound, Larry Heard, Vincent Gallo, A.R. Kane, Scritti Politti, Japan, Kevin Shields, Oval, Thomas Koner and My Bloody Valentine. Go and get it right away!

Oh and then there’s this…

King Midas Sound – “Meltdown”

November 28, 2009 at 8:01 pm Leave a comment

Broadcast & The Focus Group – …Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age (Warp) LP

Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age

Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age

To get what remains of the record-buying public heated up for the release of Sonic Youth’s most recent LP, Matador Records allowed an MP3 collage of song snippets to circulate online, prior to the album’s release. As a sneaky marketing ploy, this was probably pretty effective – said collage made The Eternal seem rather more exciting than it actually turned out to be.

The “Trailer” that Warp unleashed to presage the release of Broadcast & The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults of the Radio Age was – by contrast – a perfect encapsulation of the album as a whole. On this collaboration, hauntological overlord Julian House – aka The Focus Group – chops, splices and reconfigures a set of new recording by Birmingham post-rockers Broadcast. Consequently, the whole album sounds like a collage of snippets.

The most obvious point of reference here is Faust’s classic The Faust Tapes – in the way that House repeatedly cuts between churning industrial chaos and pastoral folk-pop. Broadcast’s more song-based fragments, meanwhile, are strongly redolent of early electronic rockers like The United States of America and White Noise.

But this album is much more than just retro – it’s retro-futurist. Broadcast – the duo of Trish Keenan and James Cargill – has long been at the forefront of UK post-rock’s retro-futurist wing (along with fellow Brummie’s Pram). Keenan and Cargill began as rather pallid Stereolab imitators (for what it’s worth, House has designed sleeves for both Broadcast and the ‘Lab) but they’ve really started to assert themselves on recent releases. This album immediately feels like the best thing they’ve ever been involved with.

Maybe it’s a case of right place, right time. House and his Ghost Box label really seem to have captured something of the zeitgeist – almost single-handedly defining the fusty, radiophonic aesthetic of hauntology.  Keenan and Cargill have been ploughing  a similar furrow for some time. Clearly, the time was ripe for this particular harmonic convergence.

Maybe a little too ripe, you might argue. The title of the album is so generically hauntological that it borders on self parody. You might even be forgiven for thinking that it’s a foreshadowing of  the moment when hauntology will finally disappear up its own Ghost Box.

But damn if Investigate Witch Cults doesn’t just work. For all the weird jump cuts and uncanny juxtapositions, nothing here seems contrived. It overwhelmingly feels like the work of driven artists sincerely doing their respective things, just when such things are needed the most. This, in other words, is the stuff classic albums are made of.

Apparently, the vinyl is a strictly limited edition. If you see one, buy it.

November 16, 2009 at 9:00 am 6 comments

Papa Sprain – 9n9ee (video)


Apparently, Gary and Cregan just uploaded this. Not sure if it’s new or old or what. More here.

November 11, 2009 at 10:18 am Leave a comment

Post-Rocktoberfest Post(-rock)script: Bleak House

Bleak House

Bleak House

Joe over at The Blackened Air has just posted an excellent UK post-rock mix all of his own, which includes tracks by important UKPR precursors like Dif Juz and Talk Talk. Go get it!

October 30, 2009 at 6:53 pm 1 comment

Post-Rocktoberfest: The Last Dance

Will we still be here this time next year?

Will we still be here this time next year?

Well, that’s about it for Post-Rocktoberfest 2009. As a number of wiseacres have pointed out, Post-Rocktoberfest should really be in November but what are you gonna do?

Perhaps, by the time Post-Rocktoberfest 2010 comes rolling around, The Five E.P.s by Disco Inferno will finally be commercially available. Here’s hoping.

Disco Inferno – “The Last Dance”

P.S. For more post-rockin’ content, don’t forget to visit The UK Post-Rock Group.

October 29, 2009 at 11:00 am Leave a comment

Post-Rocktoberfest: Early Moonshake

Dave Callahan was a member of second-division Creation records band The Wolfounds. Getting its initial break by featuring on the NME’s era-defining C86 compilation, this group started out playing fairly standard UK indie but grew progressively more experimental throughout its career.

After The Wolfhounds broke up, Callahan made a pretty definitive statement of intent by calling his next band Moonshake, after the Can song. Moonshake teamed Callahan with an American guitarist and vocalist called Margaret Fiedler (later of Laika), as well as a kick-ass rhythm section that could have given the Can boys a run for their money.

Moonshake - "First"

Moonshake - "First"

Naturally, Moonshake’s 1991 debut E.P. came out on Creation. Good as it is, First gives little indication that Moonshake would ever amount to more than The Wolfhounds had. The influence of the band’s label mates My Bloody Valentine looms large, although – to be fair – the sampledelic “Gravity” and Fielder’s folky “Coward” are markedly more impressive than anything the post-MBV shoegaze scene was churning out at the time.

Seeing the way things were going, Callahan ended Moonshake’s relationship with Creation and latched on to the post-rock-friendly Too Pure label (also the early home of Stereolab and Seefeel). The band also began developing a much starker, more aggressive sound on its second 12″, Second Hand Clothes.

“Second Hand Clothes” itself might just be the most extraordinary UK post-rock track of all. Nothing on this song feels quite normal (the ludicrously deep bass, the mangled guitars, Callahan’s off-key, nasal vocal) but it asserts itself with an astonishing force. On the B-side, “Drop in the Ocean” really gives that rhythm section the work-out it deserves.

Moonshake - "Eva Luna"

Moonshake - "Eva Luna"

The band’s debut LP – Eva Luna – expands on the formula established by Second Hand Clothes. It opens with the magnificently vitriolic “City Poison” and doesn’t let up for its entire duration. Notably, the use of sampling becomes more sophisticated and Fiedler really starts to assert herself as a songwriter, particularly on “Beautiful Pigeon”, which was the lead track on the band’s next E.P.

Moonshake - Big Good Angel

Moonshake - Big Good Angel

The Beautiful Pigeon 12″ was followed (in 1993) by a mini album called Big Good Angel. On tracks like “Two Trains”, the magic is still there but on gets the sense that Moonshake’s focus was beginning to weaken. Callahan and Fiedler seemed to agree that they should pursue a more sample-based direction but their aesthetic priorities seemed to be at odds.

Fiedler left to form Laika, wrapping here songs around liquid grooves that weren’t a million miles from the emerging trip-hop sound. Callahan continued the Moonshake project, making the band’s sound increasingly angular and unforgiving. There’s a lot to recommend Fiedler and Callahan’s post Big Good Angel Work (particularly the excellent first Laika album Silver Apples of the Moon) but it conspicuously lacks the wild-eyed sense of self-belief apparent on Eva Luna.

October 26, 2009 at 9:00 am 6 comments

Post-Rocktoberfest: Spoonfed Hybrid – Spoonfed Hybrid (Guernica) LP

Spoonfed Hybrid - s/t

Spoonfed Hybrid - s/t

In 1993, Ian Masters left Pale Saints, the Leeds-based, 4AD-signed band he had led since 1987, apparently to pursue a more left-field musical direction.  It’s also tempting to suspect that the rest of the Pale Saints had grown tired of Masters’ antics – which included peppering interviews with ludicrous fibs and disrupting the nice pop songs his band-mates were trying to write by transposing the tunes into weird time signatures.

Whatever the case, Masters’ next move was to team up with Chris Trout of the suitably eccentric A.C. Temple, forming Spoonfed Hybrid. The duo released just one full-length album, on 4AD’s post-rock-centric subsidiary Guernica (plus a couple of 7″ singles).

The music on this self-titled album is more serene than Pale Saints’ angst-ridden shoegaze rock. It falls squarely into the “new age post-punk” sound pioneered by The Durutti Column and developed by 4AD bands like Dif Juz. Fans of Kate Bush will also find much to love in Spoonfed Hybrid’s chintzy synth sounds and winsome vocals.

Masters’ tricksy ways aren’t allowed to disrupt things too much but you can hear them lurking just around the corner on “Naturally Occurring Anchors”. It’s his choir-boy voice that dominates the mood of the album, though. In fact, it’s quite jarring when Trout steps up to the mic for “A Pocketful of Dust”.

The cult of shoegaze has done much to preserve the reputation of Masters’ first band. Quite right too – The Comforts of Madness is a near flawless album. It would be nice, though, if the folks who are keeping that particular flame burning would turn their collective attention to the more diffident – but no less impassioned – Spoonfed Hybrid.

October 22, 2009 at 9:00 am 3 comments

Post-Rocktoberfest: Papa Sprain Live at The Marquee (1991)

By popular request, here’s a re-upload of this incredible live recording from Papa Sprain’s heyday. Tracklisting:

1. Rich
2. Fireworks
3. Flying to Vegas
4. You Are Ten Million Needles Pierce
5. I Got Stop

Get it here.

Link refreshed, 28th November 2009.

Refreshed again, 18th February, 2010.

Refreshed permanently, 23rd January, 2010.

October 21, 2009 at 3:00 am 9 comments

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