Our Daily Bread 478: Fran Ashcroft, Die Zimmermanner, Nick Frater, Blush Club…

November 9, 2021

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Roundup Special

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’‘Be My Maybe/David Bowie’ and All Psychiatrists Are Bastards / Will I Ever Be A Man). He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped-down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics. His latest album Atlantic Crossing, a long overdue released collaboration with 20th Century Tokyo Princess’s Ted Clark, was released last month.

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

Blush Club ‘A Hill To Die On’
29th October 2021

Jade Fair, Devo and early Aztec Camera all spring to mind when listening to this very enjoyable 4 track EP, which by no means is a bad thing as all three artists are all excellent. As are Blush Club, who have their own jerky melody filled lyrical filled songs of nonchalance, suave fun and also some bloody fine guitar lines. This is a band that shows guitar music can still be entertaining and vital.

Fran Ashcroft ‘A Tour Of British Duck Ponds’
15th October 2021

Fran Ashcroft, one time member of 70s power poppers The Monos! and now producer par excellence, has decided to release his own album: and why not. And what an album it is; an album of Liverpudlian psychedelia that’s very soft on the ear and gently melodious. It reminds one of another great Englishman, Martin Newell and his non de plume Cleaners From Venus, and this album is indeed very English sounding with typical gentle northern humour running amok on the excellent lyrics: ‘The Legendary Fish Of The Mediterranean Sea’ being a bit of a gem.

The whole album can only be described as utterly charming with a lovely warmness of production, as one can only expect from Fran. A Tour Of British Duck Ponds is an album that will keep you warm and smiling in the oncoming cold winter months, and can be downloaded for free from his Bandcamp. So I would recommend you to do so, especially if you love the works of Wreckless Eric or the aforementioned Cleaners From Venus or the writings of Ray Davies.

Pepe Deluxé  ‘Phantom Cabinet Vol. 1’
22nd October 2021

Phantom Cabinet Vol. 1 is an album that exudes sex and individuality; an album that exudes stage show pop star glamour with an experimental psych soul and funk not witnessed since Shirley Bassey drank Prince’s LSD spiked cum.

Yes indeed an album for lovers of the unusual a serious of music misadventures blended in into the soundtrack of some seventies TV cop show shown in reverse. Pussy Galore and Jethro Tull dancing naked with a young Pans People whilst Jimmy Seville rubs down his microchip with Dave Lee’s lack of style and grace. This album is adventurous, beautiful and melodious, and gives hope for modern music loving aficionados as it takes from the past but makes it sound like the future.

Yol ‘Viral Dogs And Cats’
(Crow Versus Crow)  29th October 2021

Thank FUCK for this album; it has just washed away all the tuneful perfectness of well-written and performed guitar music. This is an album of pure inspiration that has me laughing with tears running down my face and will have me shouting “expensive ice cream” all day and night. One of the finest albums I have heard this year and certainly one of the most entertaining: pure undiluted brilliance. I’m really finding it hard to find the words to express how much I adore this album, so much so that I’m going to buy the cassette and I don’t even own a cassette player. Pure genius.

Nick Frater  ‘Earworms’
(Big Stir Records)  19th November 2021

I like Nick Frater. He has the songwriting pop nous to make music that more than hold its own with the pop rock brigade of the 1970s, which is indeed no easy thing to do as pop music in the 70s was a special and magical thing made with sugar coated radio huggabilty that today’s wannabes can only dream about. But Nick is a master of the pop hook with a clean-living sheen that you could polish your furniture with just a turn of the radio dial. Yes radio dial not radio of the Internet variety but the kind people use to listen to in the millions those days when BBC DJs used to fondle under-aged girls, and being in the charts meant something, and kids used to scribble the names of their favourite bands on their school bags. If Nick was recording then no doubt his name would be scribbled on many of those bags and his photo used to back teenage girls school work books and his poster on the walls of many of the teenage population, and we would find out what his favourite colour and the name of his pet dog was in the week’s copy of the Look In magazine. So what am I saying I hear you ask? Well what I’m saying is Nick Frater makes music the equal to and sometimes surpasses pop radio hits when pop music was at its finest and most life enhancing, and Ear Worm really is a must have for those who remember those days with a nostalgic tear and a smile. And also for those who were not fortunate enough to be alive during that golden decade.

Die Zimmermänner  ‘Golden Stunde (alle Hits 1980-2017)’
(Tapete Records)  12th November 2021

Ah wonderful, at last a label that has had the good sense to release a best of comp of the wonderful eccentric German band Die Zimmermanner, who make wonderfully eccentric life affirming pop music and who, if sang in English, no doubt would get the acclaim they deserve.

A band who takes post punk, Northern Soul, Ska and pure indie pop, country and every other genre of music and release heartfelt melody ridden gems of pop songs; songs filled with squelchy keyboards, saxophones, plucked and strummed guitars; songs filled with a love and understanding of what makes pop music great, and understanding what makes great pop music they go ahead and make great pop music. And this album is jam packed with it.

Spring 68 ‘Sightseeing Through Music’
(Gare Du Nord)  22nd October 2021

Any album that kicks off with a spring heeled soul funk piece of smoothness that could have stepped out of ‘A Romantic Paris’ of 1968, and then goes into a Public Image like mantra of revolution and life, on ‘High On Happiness’, is alright with me. And that is what I like about this album; as it is indeed a clever sounding album that at no point sounds like it is patting itself on the back.

Sightseeing Through Music is an experimental pop album that is not too experimental nor too pop, but an album that balances both equally, and in doing so draws the listener into this magical journey of bewitchery. Mellow subtle dance drumbeats merge with mature and well-produced melodies of psychedelic flutes, funky bass lines and well-written original songs. It really does not sound like anyone else, and an album that sounds like an album not individual songs joined together by a trendy haircut and a Jazzmaster guitar.

Sightseeing Through Music is a complete triumph and shows the death of the album is just a fallacy pushed by Spotify toking hipsters who have not the intelligence to listen to an album from track one to the final finale, and musicians who neither have the talent or original thought to stretch beyond a “I love you” and a pair of new trainers. As I have just said Sightseeing Through Music is a complete triumph and also a breath of fresh hair.

Dub Chieftain ‘Homeworld’
(Metal Postcard Records)  21st October 2021

Dub Chieftain is back with an album of persuasive dance frenzy; an album that takes the alternate state of ones being and turns it inside out turns it into a mass of contradictions that takes the biscuit from one’s tea and inhales it into a much-maligned tooth filled wonder. Yes indeed Dub Chieftain has given us an album filled with invention frenzy and soul; of arcade game adventure and beats that have not been heard since the last Toxic Chicken album.

It is always a pleasure to listen to an album that has so much going on. You actually lose yourself and find yourself wandering around a strange place taking steps down avenues you have never strolled before, marveling at the wonders that fill your wide open eyes and the sounds that engulf your eager ears and fills your minds with visions and imaginary tales. Homeworld is such an album, and as the old saying goes, ‘there is no place like Home’, but on this occasion we will say there is no place like Homeworld.

Aliens ‘30Ilbs Of Air’
(Metal Postcard Records)  17th October 2021

This is quite a lovely album; an album of old-fashioned song writing with tunes and hooks and melodies and well played instruments, and is indeed a very warm sounding album of almost eighties like pop rock sounds that sometimes verges on MOR: I could well imagine Simon Bates playing ‘So Long My Love’ and making it his track of the week all those years ago. And that is exactly what I enjoy about this album, as well as the fact on the whole you do not hear new albums like this released much nowadays. And although I cannot see it picking up many reviews and airplay from the movers and shakers of todays dying music industry, it should not go without some praise.

I m sure if this album was released back in the eighties it would have been on CBS or WEA not the wonderful indie that is Metal Postcard Records, and I am quite surprised to see it on that mighty label. But I suppose MP does like to surprise and I’m pleased to say this is a very pleasant surprise.

Legless Trials – What We Did During The Fall
(Metal Postcard Records)  3rd November 2021

The Legless Trials are back only weeks after their debut EP with an absolute corker of a debut album; once again showing just how important both the Legless Crabs and Salem Trials are to the underground. The Legless Trials of course are made up of multi-instrumentalist Andy from the ST and vocalist Son Of El Borko from the LC. And together they take their love of strange and confrontational lyrics to the amazing guitar virtuosity of Andy, who once again proves he is one of the most talented and original guitarists in the underground currently.

At times this album takes on a late seventies American no-wave feel and also has me thinking of the classic Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band album: having the same nagging taking a knife to your heart riffery. It really is quite stunning stuff and El Borko is on top form with lyrics of deep insanity that can only be performed by the imagined love child of Fred Schneider and Mark E Smith that El Borko must surely be. There is not a track that is not truly wonderful on this album and is the sound of two musical mavericks on the top of their game. I would recommend dear readers that if you have not yet heard either Salem Trials or The Legless Crabs you should go and treat yourself and download all their albums, but start with this one as it is an absolute gem.

Eamon The Destroyer ‘A Small Blue Car’
(Bearsuit Records) 12th November 2021

The latest release from the excellent Bearsuit Records is the album by Eamon The Destroyer, who any readers of my round ups might remember I reviewed a single by them a few months ago, praising it to high heaven. And I’m pleased to announce this album does not disappoint in any way: if that was possible from a Bearsuit release.

As ever modern soulful electronica mixes with many other genres – rock, folk, metal, noise, psychedelia – to give us a fascinating and enjoyable listen; at times giving us a glimpse at what it would sound like if Arab Strap and Broadcast had decided to join forces and release a mighty opus. Other times recalling the might Mercury Rev at their finest.

A Small Blue Car is an album filled with beautiful music, beautiful songs; ‘Humanity Is Coming’ being an extremely touching moving track that finishes with a howl of feedback that is a joy to behold. This album once again shows there is powerful, extremely original music being released and being ignored by the so-called tastemakers in 2021. I do not think the indieground music scene has ever been so healthy, and A Small Blue Car is just one album I have heard in the last few weeks that is in contention for the best of, in the end of year shenanigans we blog reviewers like to lose ourselves in. Another gem from the Bearsuit label then: just add it to their ever-growing list.


2 Responses to “Our Daily Bread 478: Fran Ashcroft, Die Zimmermanner, Nick Frater, Blush Club…”

  1. […] Nick Frater ‘Earworms’  (Big Stir Records)(BBS)  Review […]

  2. […] Legless Trials ‘What We Did During The Fall’  (Metal Postcard Records)(BBS)  Review […]

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