Our Daily Bread 462: Seaside Witch Coven, Snowcrushed, Emily Isherwood, William Carlos Whitten…

August 5, 2021

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Reviews Roundup

The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The BordellosBrian ‘Bordello’ Shea has released countless recordings over the decades with his family band of hapless unfortunates, and is the owner of a most self-deprecating sound-off style blog. His most recent releases include the King Of No-Fi album, a collaborative derangement with the Texas miscreant Occult Character, Heart To Heart, and a series of double-A side singles (released so far, ‘Shattered Pop Kiss/Sky Writing’, ‘Daisy Master Race/Cultural Euthanasia’ and ‘Be My Maybe/David Bowie’). He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped-down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics.

Each month we supply him with a mixed bag of new and upcoming releases to see what sticks.

Singles/Tracks.

Seaside Witch Coven  ‘A.E.O’
16th July 2021

I like this: Well obviously or I would not be arsed writing about it. But I like how it captures the days of Newport when it was being called ‘The UK’s Seattle’, and my days of rehearsing in the Disgraceland rehearsal rooms, and going watching bands at the Legendary TJ’S, and also how it reminds me of the wonderful, should have been more successful, wonky ALICE – maybe the finest band ever to set foot out of Oldham.

Yes this track has a genre jumping magic about it; punk rock psych with a melody one can hum while you lose yourselves in memories of your youth; back to the good old days when your body worked and you still believed you could change things with a guitar and a pen and a melody. And you never know, Seaside Witch Coven may succeed where I failed.

Bloom De Wilde  ‘Garden Of The Sun’
23rd July 2021

The Fabulous Bloom De Wilde is back with a summery light pop ska tinged single to brighten up our daily lives. Once again shedding love to the masses through melodies sublime and her wonderful voice – a voice that could melt the hardest of hearts. How we need Bloom to weave her romantic musical magic on the world, to put a spring into our collective steps and spread joy. She is a true to life cartoon character that should be embraced; a throwback to the times when pop stars where otherworldly; when we thought Marc Bolan was a glam prince from a Tolkien novel and Bowie was from another planet.

‘Garden of The Sun’ is a brief glimpse into a shimmering sun; an explosion of innocence and purity of pop. It even finishes with the sound of a child’s laugh and nothing is as pure and innocent and magical as that.

Emily Isherwood  ‘See You Go’
(Breakfast Records)  16th July 2021

There is something of the Harriett Wheeler about Emily Isherwood. She had the same melancholy clarity in the vocals; the same as their voices soar, their hearts break, sound of baring souls and feelings in her art. And ‘See you Go’ is a beautifully performed and written song: and really one could not ask for more. It’s not a song that kicks you between the legs but one that gently tugs on your forelocks and whispers in your ear.

Albums/EPs..

Various  ‘The Rough Guide To The Best Country Blues You’ve Never Heard Volume 2’ 
(World Music Network/Rough Guides)  30th July 2021

In some ways I should be showing thanks for being sent so much unexciting bland generic new music to review over the last few weeks or otherwise I would not have listened to this fine 26 track compilation of old country blues music; a music steeped in soul heartache and dark humour. Plus it also appeals to my lo-fi loving soul and is filled with a certain magic music really does not quite capture as much these days. Why is that I do not know as we’re certainly living in troubled times. Maybe a microphone placed in front of a talented songwriter/performer is frowned upon, but there is something special about hearing an artist open his soul without studio trickery and sheen. Maybe it’s the way forward.

These 26 tracks are all brilliantly written, performed with, as I have already mentioned, deep soul and a fine grasp of beautiful simple melodies. Tommie Bradley‘s ‘When You’re Down And Out’ being a fine example: a song with a melody so sweet it could make a statue weep. And there is something that makes you warm inside hearing an out-of-tune harmonica and nonsensical stream of lyrics pouring forth from a cheap acoustic guitar toting Bogus Ben Covington, who’s ‘It’s A Fight Like That’ is just one of the many highlights on this beautifully entertaining compilation; an album that asks maybe it’s time we turned our back on tech and relied on pure song writing talent instead.

Graham Domain  ‘Without The Darkness…The Stars Could Not Shine’
(Metal Postcard Records)  9th July 2021

The wonderful unique sound of Graham Domain is back. And he’s back with his best album yet; nine songs recorded in last year’s lockdown that capture the uncertainty and sadness and madness of the times.

Graham takes his love of tinkling piano hand held percussion and string synths to a new level on Without The Darkness…The Stars Could Not Shine. At times the slightly deranged beauty of Graham’s songs is really quite heart stopping, dark, mysterious but with a subtle musical humour: ‘Limbs Of Loneliness’ reminding me of how the soundtrack of Bagpuss might have sounded like if written and performed by David Sylvain. But as I have already said, Graham Domain is unique. You can hear his influences (Scott Walker, Japan, Marc Almond/Soft Cell) but he adds his own strangeness; adding an almost layer of lounge based homemade psychedelia: If Syd Barret had not done acid and played a Casio keyboard he might have sounded like this. And you can tell that Graham is a huge Motown fan as ‘Giving Up On Heartache’ is a wonderful soul song, and you could easily imagine Smokey Robinson crooning it quite beautifully – and is also my favourite track on the album, a gem of a song. And that is what so magical about Graham Domain, a man with a love of music in its many genres in which he soaks up and releases in his own unique way.

Without The Darkness…The Stars Could Not Shine is a fine album and deserves to be heard by a larger audience.

Corduroy Institute  ‘Eight/Chance/Meetings’
21st June 2021

I like artists who try and make pop music interesting; they should be rewarded by people taking notice of their endeavors, and that is what attracted me to this LP: an album with a sense of adventure and trying to keep things interesting.

I could have easily chosen to write about another quite good album with guitar and bass and drums with songs about girls and love and such, but why waste my time when there is an album of sublime beauty and depth to listen to. And Eight/Chance/Meetings is such an album; an album of ‘Pure Improvisation’ and cut up lyrics, and at times it reminds me of Bowie/late Scott Walker and the Talking heads with a touch of the David Sylvain’s about it. So yes it is arty, but music is art: probably the greatest artform. 

It won’t appeal to the Oasis fan on the whole, but anybody who loved one of the best albums of last year Sum Total Of Insolent Blank by the Santa Sprees will absolutely adore it, and with very good cause because the album is adorable. It has wit, adventure, darkness, and has so much style I feel I should be wearing a velvet smoking jacket whilst listening to it. Yes, one of my albums of the year I feel…an album of experimental pop grace.

Snowcrushed  ‘A Frightened Man’
21st July 2021

The Debut album by Snowcrushed is a wonderful thing; the sound of a soft and slow descent into slumber only to find nightmares waiting to taunt and poke you in the ribs and call you a cunt when you arrive into a land where Alice would buy her dream home only to find that all the other inhabitants are lesser cardboard mortals who spend their days in a constant merry go round of drudgery and conversations of what happened in last night’s episode of Coronation Street.

A Frightened Man is a rare and magical thing, an ambient album that embraces melody, an album that softly sucks you into its vacuum and tells of a story of being trapped by your imagination and the lack of other peoples. I think I may have stumbled onto something special here, maybe the new star the new kid on the block in the strange world that is the ambient music scene: maybe the new Beatles in that genre. I think after hearing this the excellent Submarine Recordings and Wormhole World records might be giving themselves an almighty kick at not having the chance to release this.

A frightened Man is an album that is both haunting and beautifully rewarding.

Various  ‘Summer Sampler #8’
(Howling Banana Records)  16th July 2021

What we have here my little cockylorums is a free download sampler from the wonderfully named Howling Banana Records, and it is an album that skips from the Ramones like fun of Johnny Mafia, whose track ‘TV & Disney’ is a sunshine ice cream split of punk adventure, to the country-tinged Glama Rola of The Da Freak’s ‘Coco Cola’, through to the Shoegaze pop of Pop Crimes’ ‘There Were Smiles’.

Yes, this is an album for the lovers of the indie guitar; an album that will please and caress the earlobes of those who seek pleasant strum-along indie guitar in its many forms: all melodies and tuneful meandering. An ideal soundtrack to your days in your garden or beach soaking up the sun.

William Carlos Whitten  ‘My Life In Cinema’
(Wormhole World)  23rd July 2021

William Carlos Whitten has a bit of the early 70s Bowie’s and Lennon about him, which is certainly not a bad thing. And he certainly knows his way around a catchy melody and how to write an old-fashioned pop song, as this album is full of them: You cannot go wrong with home recorded synths drum machines and homespun melodrama.

I can imagine Williams’ bedroom wall being covered with Mott The Hoople posters and him owning at least one copy of every Lou Reed 70s album. This is an album that deserves an album review by the late Lester Bangs, but as he is dead I expect one shall not be forthcoming, unless of course he is channeling me as I write this. But I somehow doubt it, unless one loses 90 per cent of your talent from the other side.

This is a rather splendid album that is worthy of Charles Douglas and the more I listen the more I wish I had heard about it before the ltd cd had sold out. But that I am afraid is the joy of being on a tiny label. But cannot one speak higher praise than to say that I would have paid hard earned cash to add this cd to my large collection, as would have you if you had heard about it. A lovely pop gem that is authentically lovely with a touch of sleaze.

Girl No. III  ‘High-Five For Five/Four’
(Illywacker Records)  30th July 2021

The unusual sound of disturbance; an unbalanced tray of musical disco fanny; a subdued look into the mind of a psychotic zookeeper, or, the heart of a beating living mechanical tombstone. Yes, this strange avant-garde journey through Jazz and spiritual invention game-playing tomfoolery is one worth listening to, but not if you have a headache or in need of space for quiet reflection, as this gem of invention is all over the place and best listened to on headphones unless you want the death stare from other family members.

This is an album for lovers of alt jazz or more experimental works of synth wielding Coltrane fanatics.

Sorrows  ‘Love Too Late’
(Big Stir Records)  13th August 2021

Not to be confused with the classic 60s British beat band The Sorrows, led by Don Fardon, but the late 70s early 80s American power pop band Sorrows, who are back with a brand-new album, or in fact a rerecording of their second album, which they were never happy with on the label that spills forth power pop goodness on it seems like a whim: Big Stir Records.

So, you know what to expect: jangling guitars, melodies sublime and songs of love and girls and all things power pop songs are about. No surge into the mists of dark wave or outpourings of contempt for the powers that be; no rapper appearing mid-way through the song extolling the virtues of a big booty then pissing off again. No, what we have are eleven songs of well self-written guitar-based pop – well 10 actually, as there is also a decent cover of the Kinks ‘Tired Of Waiting For You’. 

They make no attempt at hiding their love for mid-sixties Beatles, especially on the Lennon like ‘Rita’: although it is not mentioned whether she was lovely or not. Sorrows obviously love the power and magic of rock ‘n’ roll and are entrenched in its spirit: If you cut them I’m sure they would bleed 12 string guitars, the power chord and melody.

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