Thursday, 16 October 2014

Track Of The Day: Gum Takes Tooth - 'Mirrors Fold'

Riding on unsettling atmospheres, and every so often exploding into hammering rages before climaxing with a full-on acid-flavoured assault, the marvellous 'Mirrors Fold' is the progressively mental opening title track from the new Gum Takes Tooth album. It's an enticing, dynamic set of brilliantly unsual tracks that is highly recommmended for those who love noisy, heavily rhythmic music, and was released last week on October 6. Issued on vinyl, CD and digitally, the album sees the forward-thinking duo delve deeper into exotic drum explorations, vibrant electronic sound shapes and whispering psychedelia.

It follows their acclaimed debut album Silent Cenotaph, from 2011. With the new record comes a refinement of the band's sound and depth of production detail. It is a sonic leap forward from the out and out metal-flavoured barrage of Silent Cenotaph into more controlled and deeper, denser rhythmic soundscapes and fully-formed song structures. Gum Takes Tooth are made up of Thomas Fuglesang and Jussi Brightmore.



REWIND: Sparks - 'This Town Ain't Big Enough For The Both Of Us'

I'm picking this one because I was listening to it in the car on the way back from work today, along with the rest of the brilliant 'Kimono My House' album from 1974. 'This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us' is one hell of a way to open an album. Of course I had to pick the classic 'Top Of The Pop' performance, which I'm sure sticks in everyone's minds after they've seen it for the first time. The visual impact of prancing Russell and the firm stare of a Hitler-moustached Ron on the TV screen is as unforgettable an image as you could get. 'Kimono My House' was the third Sparks album, and reached number 4 in the UK album chart, while the single earned them a number 2 hit. To mark it's 40th anniversary, the duo will be performing the album in full, accompanied by the Heritage Orchestra. 40th anniversary of Kimono My House. Those shows take place on the 19th and 20th of December at Barbican Hall, London. I went to see Sparks play in Bristol last year in 2013. Read a review of that show HERE




Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Track Of The Day: Antenna Happy - 'Spark'

The superb music of Antenna Happy first came to my attention a few weeks ago, when I received an email from Reinhardt Records, informing me of the three track 'Pinto' EP. After being immediately mesmerized by the nine minute title track, I had a listen to the other two tracks and discovered that the whole thing was wonderful. Whipping up a hypnotic, elevating techno-house blend, the wonderful 'Spark' closes the EP. A twenty year break away from making music is almost unheard of especially within electronic music circles, but that is where Antenna Happy, aka Brighton-based musician Nathan Pope, finds himself with 'Pinto'. Drawing from psychedelia and techno set straight for the sun, this kaleidoscopic sonic excursion has all the makings of a cult classic, and was the debut 12" release on Reinhardt Records. An EP that features remixes of 'Pinto''s title track will also be available soon.




REWIND: Stereo MC's - 'On 33'

Today, I'm playing a track that is unknown by far too many people. Especially when you consider how big Stereo MC's were in the early 90s. However this particular track is from a few years before they found mainstream success with 'Connected'. The superb old school flavours of 'On 33' open the band's 1989 debut album '33-45-78', which makes up one of the 9 CDs that will soon be available as part of a new boxset. Also featuring a DVD, 'Collected' is released on October 27. As well as the excellent debut, the box includes their breakthrough album 'Supernatural', the 1992 Brit Award winning Connected, its long-awaited follow up, Deep Down And Dirty from 2001, together with the albums Paradise, Double Bubble and Emperors’ Nightingale from the past decade. The live-in-concert 'Connected' video is included in the package to sample the unstoppable force that the Stereo MCs are live, alongside all of their promotional videos. To add to this, there are 2 disc’s worth of rare and unheard tracks and remixes, and importantly three brand new tracks, ‘Good Feeling,’ ‘Dance Tonight’ and ‘Autumn Leaves’ recorded in the group’s Brixton studio earlier this year.

The lavish package contains a brand new 32 page book featuring unseen images, memorabilia and an interview with Nick Hallam and Rob Birch telling their story in their own words. After all that the band have achieved it’s time to stay tuned, because in the words of the band “We’ve got our best music to come.”

'Collected' will also available as a digital set



Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Track Of The Day: Korea Kitten Riot - 'Cold Cold Arms'

Filled with an uplifting sense of hope, built on big percussion, and brought to life via some brilliant instrumentation, 'Cold Cold Arms' is a song by Korea Kitten Riot, which comes from their new album 'Rich Men Poor Men Good Men'. Hearing this lovely bit of pedal-steel blessed dreampop immediately made me want to hear the rest of the album, which features a number of other impressive moments. But it's this one that stand out the most on the band's third studio album, a record which was recorded in Berlin and mastered by Doug Van Sloun (Bright Eyes, First Aid Kit). Koria Kitten Riot began as a solo project of Helsinki-based Antti Reikko, who recorded the first two albums mostly on his own. In 2011 KKR transformed into a five-piece touring band, and 'Rich Men Poor Men Good Men' is the first record to feature the whole group. It was released last week on October 6, via Yates Records.



Monday, 13 October 2014

Track Of The Day: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - 'In The Heat Of The Moment'


It's always a pleasure when one of my all-time musical heroes returns with new music. Especially when it's THIS good. Former Oasis legend Noel Gallagher played one of the biggest parts in soundtracking my youth in the 90s, and continues to astound me with his sheer brilliance. His last album from 2011 was his first solo record, and was his best set of tunes since Oasis hit their peak in the mid 90s. Today he announced the release of his upcoming second full-length effort, which will be called 'Chasing Yesterday', a title that perhaps refers to the fact that musically, nothing will ever be as big as Oasis again. 'In The Heat Of The Moment' is the first single from the album, and pairs a hard-hitting groove with the sort of surging singalong chorus that Kasabian would kill for. And of course, it comes packed with instantly addictive Gallagher hooks. Those backing vocals also sound a lot like Blur, which is somewhat ironic. "The first single was the last track to be recorded. It's called 'In The Heat Of The Moment'. Is it great? Of course it is. What does it mean, it doesn't mean anything."

'Chasing Yesterday' is released on March 2 next year, and was produced by Noel himself: “I didn’t like it to be honest. I’d taken it to my producer, Dave Sardy, who has worked with me for the last 10 years and for whatever reasons he couldn’t do it… I enjoyed the freedom with it but I didn’t enjoy managing the sessions. The end product is great but it was a pain in the arse,” he said. Noel described the album's sound as “very eclectic... You could take a pair of tracks and play them together and think, ‘fucking hell, he’s gone insane, what’s he done there’ but then you could take another pair of tracks and think ‘well it sounds like a rock ‘n’ roll album’” said Gallagher. “I don’t think it’s one kind of thing or another. But I think it’s good though. Don’t think Spandau Ballet, think Pink Floyd.”



VERY interestingly, Noel also revealed "There’s a song on this record that has taken me 23 years to finish. It’s called Lock All The Doors. I gave a bit of it away to the Chemical Brothers in the 90s when we did Setting Sun and I always meant to finish it but I could never get a way for the verse to tie in with the chorus. But one afternoon, I was coming out of the Tesco Metro in Maida Vale and it just hit me, it came to me in a flash of inspiration.”

A few UK tour dates for 2015 have been announced, and can be found below. Tickets are avalable from Friday (October 17), but a special fan pre-sale takes place this Wednesday morning at 9am. This excellent track will be released on November 16 as a digital download, and a limited 7" single, which features the new track 'Do The Damage'. That song is also featured on CD of the deluxe edition of the album, which also features a new version of unreleased Oasis fan favourite 'Revolution Song', and the much-loved 'Freaky Teeth', which Noel has played live a lot in the past.






Tues 3rd March Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Weds 4th March 3 Arena, Dublin
Fri 6th March Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Sat 7th March The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Mon 9th March Arena, Manchester
Tues 10th March O2 Arena, London



REWIND: LFO - 'LFO' (The Leeds Warehouse Mix)

Back in 2012 when RW/FF was operating under a different name, I featured the eponymous classic by the legendary electro act LFO. Today, I have deleted the original post and have decided to feature it again, since today saw the sad passing of one of the two men responsible for this incredible track. Warp Records today confirmed that electro pioneer Mark Hill has died: "It's with great sadness that we announce the untimely passing of Mark Bell of LFO who died last week from complications after an operation. Mark’s family & friends request privacy at this difficult time."

LFO were formed after Hill and
Gez Varley and Bell met while studying at Leeds University. They made a track together, and sent it to Nightmares on Wax. The demo of this song became a hit in the clubs, and led to the track being released by Warp Records in 1990. It reached number 12 in the singles charts, and was featured on the duo's debut album 'Frequencies' from the following year. I've owned my CD copy of that album for about a year or so now, and must admit to only playing it twice. That's what happens when you have so much music to listen to... But tonight, I will play it again in memory of Mark Hill, and because it's a bloody good record. 

Hill also collaborated and remixed many artists including Bjork, and also produced Depeche Mode's 'Exciter' LP from 2001. He continued LFO by himself after Varley quit in 1996. 


Sunday, 12 October 2014

RW/FF With Ben P Scott #52

After a lengthy break, the RW/FF round up returns with new albums from Martin Carr, Stephen Jones, Jupiter Lion and more, as well as incredible sounds from Gala Drop, D-Pulse, Antenna Happy, Kinkajous, The Charlatans, School, Occupanther, Velvet Morning, High Hazels and others. As well as all that, an interview with Levellers frontman Mark Chadwick, three compilations full of the most essential new music, and some recent edition of the RW/FF Radio show...

I expect everybody thought that the RW/FF round-up had come to an end after the length of the time since the last one. It's been a while hasn't it? Just over three months to be precise. Originally my intention was to rest the round-up for a few weeks in order to give me more time to finish a load of album and track reviews. The new music came thick and fast, and trying to find time to write about the best of it became difficult. So instead of spending time doing a round-up each week, I've had to dedicate that time to catching up with the list of great records that have appeared over recent months. In August, I went from working 4 hours a day to a full-time 9 to 5 job, which has meant less spare time. However, since I finally got broadband installed at home a month or so ago, I actually have more time to write and publish the site, and no longer have to go to other people's houses to get online.


So it's taken a while to adjust to that change of routine, and to catch up with all the planned album reviews that have built up. Hence, over the next few weeks you will find reviews of albums that are a month or so old. But it's good to keep records in the spotlight for a bit longer rather than moving on to the next thing as soon as release week is over.

I was planning to publish reviews of at least six different albums over the last couple of weeks, but instead dedicated many evenings and most of the weekend writing an epic in-depth history of Brighton legends the Levellers, which also featured an interview I recently did with frontman Mark ChadwickThe writer of this article was only 11 years old when he first witnessed the Levellers playing 'Just The One' on Top Of The Pops in late 1995. I put that single on my Christmas list immediately afterwards and have been guided through life by the band's music ever since. And 19 years later I'm here talking to none other than Mark.

Among other things he discussed misperceptions ("we were accused of selling out when we released out first independent single"), the upcoming Greatest Hits tour of the UK in November ("a rock n roll spectacular") and a career still going strong after over 25 years ("it's gone by in the blink of an eye"). Read the whole article HERE. During that week I also featured a Levellers track every day as 'Rewind' selections, those and other posts about the band can be found HERE.

But I suppose since the round-up has been completely absent over the summer, I'd better fill you in on what's been happening while I've been gone. You can trawl through all the daily posts from the last few months at rwffmusic.blogspot.com if you want a full update. But I'll keep this catch-up as brief as possible... All of the essential new music featured on the site is compiled onto a regular mixtape, and the last three editions of The RW/FF Compilation can be found below.


From three months ago, Volume 21 was summer special of the RW/FF Compilation, the perfect soundtrack for the long sunny days we (sometimes) enjoyed. It features First Aid Kit, Spies,Tape Waves, Stephen Jones, Goat, Tony Allen ft. Damon Albarn, James, Night Sports, Lee Coombs and Kostas G, Epic45, Echaskech, Manic Street Preachers, False-Heads, The Phantom Band, Gang Of Youths, Mat Motte And The People Who Hate Him, Negative Lovers, and Hell Death Fury.








After about a month and a half, it was somewhat appropriate that the next one should arrive in September as the evenings began to start sooner. Volume 22 featured TELEPOPMUSIK FT. MARK GARDENER, PLANK!, THE FAUNS, CHILDHOOD, THE FAMILY RAIN, MARTIN CARR, DAMON ALBARN, DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979, ERLAND AND THE CARNIVAL, INTERPOL, JOHNNY MARR, MORRISSEY, THE VINES, ROBERT PLANT, SPARKS, and TAPE WAVES.



Taking us up to October, here is the latest compilation, which is one of my favourite ones yet. Volume 23 is a bit more far-out than the last one, a journey that begins with some krautrock before venturing through psychedelica, shoegaze, electronica, post-punk and ending with a few helpings of disco. It consisted of new tracks from CAMERA, ZIGURI, NEGATIVE LOVERS, TRUCKER, RICHARD FEARLESS, GUT UND IRMLER, THE FALL, BLACK RIVERS, DARK HORSES, THE ASTEROID #4, THE HOBBES FANCLUB, GUM TAKES TOOTH, TO ROCOCCO ROT, HEADMAN, and THE JUAN MACLEAN.





Martin Carr - 'The Breaks' (Tapete Records)
Martin Carr was the songwriter behind the Boo Radleys, who built up an army of fans in the 90s putting out brilliantly experimental pop records and even cracked the mainstream with the eternal 1995 radio staple 'Wake Up Boo'. It's a pleasure to find Carr returning with his first album in five years. 

Backed by a group of musicians including RW/FF favourite Andy Fung (Cymbient, Derrero, No Thee No Ess) on drums, the album lifts you into the clouds right from the beginning as it opens with 'The Santa Fe Skyway', a glorious helping of Stax-flavoured dream-soul that scores top marks all round, particularly for its joyous instrumentation. The thriving, organ driven high point 'St Peter In Chains' is a glorious burst of vitality where Carr masks dark subjects with a bright tune, a trick he has pulled off so well in the past. With the beautifully haunting 60s colours of 'Mountain', we get a classic Carr moment, immaculately arranged and built on the sort of great song crafting that would make it a standout on any of his previous albums. After experimenting with electronics on previous releases, 'The Breaks' has a more organic feel and each song has plenty of room to breathe, with a humble warmth and modesty radiating sublimely from 'I Don't Think I'll Make It', another standout moment that demonstrates his undiminished brilliance as a songwriter.

There's more intimacy throughout this record, which allows the listener a deeper insight into Carr's life and a swim through his headspace. By the end of 'The Breaks', we've learned a lot more about this man and feel like we're finally a little bit closer to actually knowing him. And any album that features the line "If Jesus ran a chip shop all our fish would be free" has to be worth checking out doesn't it? 

Flawed but charmingly understated, and occasionally wonderful, it's a welcome return from one of British music's unsung heroes. Read the full 7.2/10 review HERE.





Stephen Jones - 'Ambition Expired' (Self Released) - The first full-length album to bear ex Babybird cult hero Stephen Jones' own name since 2003's 'Almost Cured Of Sadness' finds the Sheffield-based musical genius delivering a breathtaking set of strange, beautiful and transcendental pieces. Released back in the summer, it's still played often here and is one of my favorite records of this year. Read a full review of it HERE.




Jupiter Lion - 'Brighter' (BCore Disc Records) - The excellent Valencia-based trio Jupiter Lion first captured RW/FF's ears early in 2013 after the release of their impressive self titled debut album. 'Brighter' is their second full length effort, and takes their Krautrock-infused sound to new heights and further dimensions. If driving rhythms, relentless bass, nagging synths and beautifully elevating melodies are your tonic, then this cosmic helping of Spanish post-psychedelic krautrock is something you will need to hear. Pushing into new galaxies and leaving an awe-inspiring trail of light, 'Brighter' is a ball of momentum that flies with powerful trajectory.8.2/10. Review HERE.




Other album reviews that can be found on the RW/FF site include the following:


And if you're not feeling fully up to date on the latest music news, all of the RW/FF music news round-ups can be found HERE.

This week I have been listening to new stuff including Toydrum's brilliant 'Distant Focus Vol 1' EP, the superb 'Mirrors Fold' from Gum Takes Tooth, and the French trio NLF3's new 'Pink Renaissance' album. Another thing I've been getting my ears around is an extraordinary record entitled 'i!' by an artist also known as i!. I found out about it via producer Dominic Bailey, who is immensely pleased with his involvement in the album. i! is in fact Bath-based multi-instrumentalist Rod Brakes, who is also a member of South West outfit The Blood Choir. I'll be talking more about i! over the next few weeks.

More essential new music...



A gorgeous, mesmeric explosion of sounds and cultures. 'Sun Gun''s entrancing keys burn a sonic path through funk-filled avenues, resulting in a dizzying mixture of rhythm and atmosphere. Tremendous stuff. Released on November 24, 'II' is Gala Drop's first full-length record in six years, and sees the four-piece join forces with Detroit ex-pat Jerry The Cat (Funkadelic, Parliament, Derrick May, Moodymann, Theo Parrish) to pull together the variant strands of Motor City's aural lineage with the more off the cuff Balearic-flecked grooves of their native Lisbon in a hypnotic melting pot of sound. Afonso Simões from the group sees the similarities between Lisbon and Detroit too, although for him it's the explosion of creative styles and tangents that he draws parallels with: "Detroit wound up a city with so much contamination between styles, from Motown to garage rock and then the birth of techno. Lisbon felt like that when I moved here too, I was going out to a techno club at the weekend but going to see a garage rock show or some free jazz band in the week. The post-Millennium Lisbon has been very fertile musically speaking."







Upliftingly melodic and coloured with jazz flavours, this new track from Kinkajous makes for a splendid introduction to a rather interesting group of musicians. Kinkajous are a London based band and the latest project of French duo Adrien Cau and Benoit Parmentier. Inspired by the new electro-acoustic scene, including the likes of Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, Bonobo, Ibrahim Maalouf and Portico Quartet, Kinkajous alternates powerful drums and mesmerizing sounds with the sensitivity of the clarinet in a unique way. Their line-up consists of Adrien Cau (clarinet/bass clarinet), Benoît Parmentier (drums/percussions), Layla Kim (synths/piano), Rick Tipton (samples/electronic sounds) and Sjur Opsal (bass/double bass). Their eponymous debut EP will be released on the 18th October 2014, and will include this as one of the original tracks, plus a collaboration with Mariama as well as remixes by CHPLN and Krunzcahrt.







Here's an absolutely superb new track that started off my Saturday absolutely beautifully a few weekends ago, when I discovered it in my inbox upon checking my emails in the morning. It's the lead track from Antenna Happy's wonderful new 'Pinto' EP, which will be the first 12" release on Reinhardt Records. After the track builds progressively out of soft, pulsing rhythms and warm swathes of harmonious electronics, it thrives over the course of nine minutes, combining subtle elements from various genres to form a beautifully tranquil and entrancing sense of movement. Antenna Happy is Brighton-based musician Nathan Pope, and his fine new EP is released on September 22. If you think this radio edit below is good, then brace yourselves for the brilliance of the full length featured on the record...





This shadowy, haunting new track is the first new music from The Charlatans in four years. 'Talking In Tones' was released on September 29, and was available on a very limited edition 7-inch (500 copies), which also featured a remix from Grumbling Fur. The song is the first to be taken from band's forthcoming untitled 12th album. The upcoming LP will also be the first following the death of drummer Jon Brookes, who passed away last year in 2013 after a battle with cancer.

Keyboardist Tony Rogers said: "Jon was adamant that there was going to be another Charlatans record, and you have to put that into your own thoughts." The Charlatans have also announced a one-off show at The Garage in Highbury, London, supported by Grumbling Fur. 







The debut single from Scandinavian four piece School is a wondrous burst of lo-fi dream pop that stirs the musical senses. 'So Long' was released a few weeks back on September 1, and three more tracks can be found on their Soundcloud page HERE. The Göteborg-based group is made up of Per Svensson, Alice Botéus, Felix Andersson and Efraim Kent. 'So Long' has to be one of the most bewitchingly beautiful things I've heard in ages, and excites with its mesmeric, sparkling energy. School only formed late last year in the autumn of 2013, and are already creating something of a stir. Keep them firmly on your musical radars...











'Astronomers' is a superb helping of slow-burning intergalactic beauty that utilizes its uncluttered musical space wonderfully. You can find it on 'Consequence', the long awaited debut album from Saint-Petersburg based D-Pulse. For the past few years the band's melancholic sound, echoing from the numerous factories and forests of their home city, Izhevsk, fused with exceptional production, has established D-Pulse as one of the most vivid and respected live acts on the contemporary Russian indie and electronic music scene.
Released in a few weeks time on October 16, 'Consequence' is released via the band's very own imprint, Vernal Records.






A propellent electronic pulse, piercing techno keys and a euphoric haze of ambience come together on Midimúm's wondrous reworking of a track by Occupanther, the alias of Munich-based musician Martin Brugger. Amazingly, this is available to download for free at the Antime Records Soundcloud page HERE and via the music player below. This is actually the first thing I've heard from Midimúm since last year's splendid 'Junk Beach' single, one of the songs that soundtracked my summer in 2013. Midimúm is Martin Steer, who also runs the Antime label.






'Misbehave' is the latest single from Sheffield outfit High Hazels, and comes from their upcoming self titled debut album. It sounds a bit like the ridiculously underrated Scottish legends the Soup Dragons playing psychedelic 60s pop, and that is indeed a good thing. Crammed with strong hooks, spiky riffs and ear catching production, 'Misbehave' is something that you'll need to hear if you have a fondness for melodic indie rock n roll. The single was released a few weeks ago on September 15, and was produced by Matt Peel. Further proof that Sheffield is currently producing some outstanding indie pop...





One of my favourite new bands of the last couple of years have recently signed to RIP Records and have just released a fine new track, entitled 'Green Whale'. 

I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like they're floating through the clouds while immersed in Velvet Morning's calm, hallucinogenic musical flavours. After putting out the highly impressive 'Velvet Moon' EP earlier this year, the excellent 'Barrett Land' single followed, and now 'Green Whale' continues their promising run of great material. A review of the 'Velvet Moon' EP can be found HERE.




The most recent edition of RW/FF Radio was a shorter than usual affair, since a Levellers radio special that I was hosting overran. When the show made it in to the air 10 minutes late, new music included stuff from Kinkajous, The Charlatans, Martyn, Thom Yorke, Early Ghost, Aphex Twin, Tied To The Mast, Happyness, and Black Strobe. As well as those, I featured a hyperactive end of show banger from 1997 by Souvlaki



The week previous to that, I took a week off doing the show and left it in the capable hands of Jason B, who extended his usual Dance Class to an extra hour. That show from September 29 can be heard HERE



The show from three weeks ago has only just made it online, due to me being so busy. That edition from September 22 begins with five minutes of madness that was broadcasting on the station prior to the show going on air. The show itself features new sounds from School, Antenna Happy, Jupiter Lion, Black Rivers, Dark Horses, Johnny Marr and Jamie T, and a brilliant Seiliog remix of a Manic Street Preachers track, as well as older tracks from Ocean Colour Scene, King Prawn and Format.






Rewind

In case you're new to the round-up, or have completely forgotten what it usually featured, the 'Rewind' part of the column is the bit where I talk about the music of the past. For a while now I have been documenting my memories of the music Ithat has soundtracked my life with a series of articles. 






Due to having to make new music a priority, it's been a while since the last instalment of my Musical Memories. But the most recent reached up to February 1996, and can be found as part of the last RW/FF round-up HERE.

On another past-related tip, it was recently brought to my attention that the complete first series of TFI Friday had been uploaded to YouTube. So for the last three weeks, I have enjoyed watching an episode of the show every Friday night, as I did in the 90s. This led to me wanting to relive another one of my rituals of the 90s: catching up with The ITV Chart Show every Saturday morning. I remember the ones I watched in the early part of the decade featuring mostly horrific stuff, so I decided to begin with a few videos of the specialist charts and Top 10s from January 1994, before moving on chronologically. Yesterday (October 11) was February 94. In fact you can follow the Chart Shows of the 90s with me, by subscribing to this playlist that I will be updating with the latest month each Saturday. Amusing, nostalgic and cringe-inducing in equal measures. The playlist so far can be found HERE.

Once I have a few reviews out of the way, and am a bit further into my Musical Memories, I am in fact going to begin going through these old shows on the site, so keep a look our for those...

See you next week.


LISTEN: RW/FF Radio - 22/09/2014 and 06/10/2014

Ben Scott hosts RW/FF Radio every Monday night 7-8pm on Melksham Town SoundThis is where the music featured on RW/FF comes to life on the radio. As well as the most essential new releases, you'll hear lost treasures and classics from the past. Expect everything from indie, shoegaze, electronica, krautrock, psychedelica, funk, soul, reggae, punk, alternative, rock and much more.

The most recent RW/FF Radio was a shorter than usual affair, since a Levellers radio special that I was hosting overran. When the show made it in to the air 10 minutes late, new music included stuff from Kinkajous, The Charlatans, Martyn, Thom Yorke, Early Ghost, Aphex Twin, Tied To The Mast, Happyness, and Black Strobe. As well as those, I featured a hyperactive end of show banger from 1997 by Souvlaki




The week previous to that, I took a week off doing the show and left it in the capable hands of Jason B, who extended his usual Dance Class to an extra hour. That show from September 29 can be heard HERE



The show from three weeks ago has only just made it online, due to me being so busy. That edition from September 22 begins with five minutes of madness that was broadcasting on the station prior to the show going on air. The show itself features new sounds from School, Antenna Happy, Jupiter Lion, Black Rivers, Dark Horses, Johnny Marr and Jamie T, and a brilliant Seiliog remix of a Manic Street Preachers track, as well as older tracks from Ocean Colour Scene, King Prawn and Format.






For more info on RW/FF Radio, the RW/FF Specials and Melksham Town Sound, go HERE.

You can listen live HERE (Link opens in new window).

All the latest show news, announcements and "listen again" can be found HERE.

Contact the show on Twitter https://twitter.com/rwffmusic


REVIEW: Martin Carr - 'The Breaks' (Tapete Records)



Martin Carr was the songwriter behind the Boo Radleys, who built up an army of fans in the 90s putting out brilliantly experimental pop records and even cracked the mainstream with the eternal 1995 radio staple 'Wake Up Boo'. After the commercial failure of their final (and massively overlooked) album 'Kingsize', the group split in 1998 and Carr returned a couple of years later as Bravecaptain, before eventually deciding to release records under his own name. With many other 90s bands reforming, there has been no hint of the Boo Radleys returning to action, and very few people would expect them to anyway. It's a pleasure to find Carr returning with his first album in five years. "A theme running through my work is not fitting in,” he says. "Whether it was at school, work, in a band and even now, a 46-year-old with two small children – I always feel slightly alienated from the process. I think everybody knows what’s going on except me.” 


Backed by a group of musicians including RW/FF favourite Andy Fung (Cymbient, Derrero, No Thee No Ess) on drums, the album lifts you into the clouds right from the beginning as it opens with 'The Santa Fe Skyway', a glorious helping of Stax-flavoured dream-soul that scores top marks all round, particularly for its joyous instrumentation. With the prospect of often having to play solo in mind, Carr wrote many of these songs for playing on the acoustic guitar, resulting in a set of tracks with strong melodies at its core. And it's more than evident on the thriving, organ driven high point 'St Peter In Chains', a glorious burst of vitality where Carr masks dark subjects with a bright tune, a trick he has pulled off so well in the past. The reflective sigh of 'Mainstream' revisits Jimmy Webb/Bacharach flavours reminiscent of that final Boo Radleys LP 'Kingsize', drawing lines between now and then. Lyrically it's an interesting piece that compares Carr's current place in mainstream society with the contrast of his days in the music business, describing getting up in the morning to take the kids to school, and being temporarily taken back in time whenever the breakfast show anthem 'Wake Up' comes on the radio. 

With the beautifully haunting 60s colours of 'Mountain', we get a classic Carr moment, immaculately arranged and built on the sort of great song crafting that would make it a standout on any of his previous albums. Another highlight follows with the ghostly acoustic beauty of 'Sometimes It Pours', a fine moment delivered in that voice and melodic style that (like much of his previous work) seem to suit Autumn like nothing else, tones embedded with a genuine melancholic yet uplifting quality. Although it develops nicely near the end, 'Senseless Apprentice' is bright but not quite as strong musically, while 'No Money In My Pocket' compels with touches of lyrical humour and a reminder to make the most of what you've got. After experimenting with electronics on previous releases, 'The Breaks' has a more organic feel and each song has plenty of room to breathe, with a humble warmth and modesty radiating sublimely from 'I Don't Think I'll Make It', another standout moment that demonstrates his undiminished brilliance as a songwriter. He doesn't always get it completely right all the time. Like on a few of the Boo Radleys numbers, a good verse turns out to be an unfulfilled promise on the irritating 'Mandy Get Your Mello On', which is ruined by a weak chorus and sounds especially weak in comparison to the rest of this LP. Luckily it's only a small blip, as 'The Breaks' winds down in playfully optimistic, beautifully subtle fashion with the quietly upbeat acoustic mood of the closing title track. 

In terms of his vocal performance, being without the Boo Radleys for so long has gradually enabled Carr to step further out of the shadows, and as a result now sings with more authority than on previous records. His gift for classic pop songwriting is as outstanding as ever during the best of what 'The Breaks' has to offer. There's more intimacy throughout this record, which allows the listener a deeper insight into Carr's life and a swim through his headspace. By the end of 'The Breaks', we've learned a lot more about this man and feel like we're finally a little bit closer to actually knowing him. And any album that features the line "If Jesus ran a chip shop all our fish would be free" has to be worth checking out doesn't it? 

Flawed but charmingly understated, and occasionally wonderful, it's a welcome return from one of British music's unsung heroes. 7.2/10



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