Our Daily Bread 548: Cormac O Caoimh, Schizo Fun Addict, THE Zew, Russ Spence…

November 10, 2022

Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea’s Monthly Reviews Column

Singles

Cormac O Caoimh ‘Didn’t We’

How on earth could I not write about this song, for it is a song about one of my favourite songs, the Jimmy Webb song ‘Didn’t We’. My favourite version is not actually mentioned, which is by the very rarely mentioned easy listening singer from the 60s/70s Sheila Southern, her version being on the sings Jimmy Webb album released on the budget label Marble Arch records in 1970 – well worth keeping an eye out for in your local charity shop. This song is a cracking little unusual pop song. I do love pop songs about pop songs, and this is a finely written one by Cormac O Caoimh and Lindy Morrison. Yes I to was wondering whether it was the same Lindy Morrison from the wonderful Go Betweens. If so, then she is used to being on finely crafted, well written pop songs, which this indeed is.

Schizo Fun Addict ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’

Schizo Fun Addict have just released a teaser video for their new album that will be coming to us in early 2023, and once again, with this a cover of the Led Zepplin classic ‘Over The Hills And Far Away’, have completely reinvigorated and made it sound like one of their own, which I think is the idea of a cover, otherwise I think doing a cover is a pointless exercise and you may as well listen to the original.

But no such worries in that department from Schizo who have taken one of my favourite Zeps tracks and if anything improved it or made it so different it is like two completely different songs. Instead of the Zep theatrics we have a woozy stoned psych trip of shoegaze folk splendor, like the ghost of Sandy Denny haunting the serenity of early Mercury Rev. At this point all betting is off as what will be my favourite album of next year, as Schizo Fun Addict already have that in the bag.

Salem Trials ‘Zipporah’
(Metal Postcard Records)

Yes, another single from the wonderful Salem Trials. ‘Zipporah’ is a fuzzy pop delight with a guitar riff that reminds one of the 80s guitar favourites The Primitives; a riff that could have walked, or in the case slinked and strutted, of their debut LP Lovely. But instead of the twee vocalising of indie 80s sex goddess Tracy Tracy we have the mad wonderful unique vocalising of Russ ranting, snarling, gurgling not so sweet nothings to anyone within earshot: the nutter on the bus singing along to his favourite hits from yesteryear. Russ and Andy should have a statue erected in their honour for their attempt to keep modern indie guitar music interesting and vital, which the Salem Trials undoubtedly are.

bigflower ‘Magic Beans’

bigflower are back with another installment of guitar surge, and indeed how the guitar surges on this beauty of a track; another dense shadow of regret and sadness and inner turmoil. There is nobody sounding like bigflower today but not everybody has bigflower’s talent and pedigree.

Mark Hegan ‘Rearrange Me’

This is a pleasant well-produced radio friendly pop rock ballad. You know, the Snow Patrol, Keane type of track. And I’ll admit something, it’s the kind of thing I normally do not listen to out of choice, but I thought I would give this a mention as Mark Hegan does it better than most of the stuff I’m sent. And anyone with a penchant for radio friendly pop rock songs should give it a listen as I think they might well enjoy it.

Albums/EPs

Thank You Lord For Satan
(Buh Records)

Thank You Lord For Satan are a fine band and this, their debut, album is indeed a fine listen. An album that takes on board psychedelia with a mixture of synth pop and indeed straight ahead pop.  The sultry sexy and dark opener ‘A million Songs Ago’ sets the tone with intertwining Velvet like guitars and soft sensual vocals, and at times vocal wise reminds me of a cross between The All Saints and Leonard Cohen: a strange but beautiful combination.

This debut is indeed like fresh of breath air blowing through the corridors of the halls of psych rock. Showing that with a bit of intelligence and originality and song writing talent greatness can still be achieved in the ever-growing paint by numbers genre that psych rock has become.

THE Zew ‘IFI1IFO’
(Numavi Records)

1FI1FO is a beautiful lo-fi album of near experimental folk songs, with vocals and guitar going through occasional effects to a quite beautiful degree, slightly distorting and giving the album a lovely warm and woozy effect.

The songs and vocals are rather moving, reminding one of camping in the woods with your memories for company. A quite a simple and nostalgic affair, the whole albums flows together and moves with a subtle lo-fi grace that one does not come across often enough, and come the end of the year this could well be one of my favorites. Very special indeedy.

Neon Kittens ‘S-T’
(Metal Postcard)

Experimental no wave pop is not noise pollution, in fact it is darn sexy. Darn sexy is a much underused word in reviewing circles as it sounds like something a passed his prime urban cowboy may say to his best drinking buddy in a down-at-heel bar, and this 4-track slice of experimental epery (yes a made up word). Yes I am flying by the seat of my pants a bit like this quite wonderful EP is. At last, the sound of music not stuck inside the rules; not being made to tick the right boxes; not being made like it was recorded by a middle-class twat wanting to be featured on a episode of Catfish to be played whist some wistful teenager stares at their phone in hope that Nigel really does look like the picture sent and not Nigel Farage. This is the real sound of the musical underground the sound of people making music they want to make, music they like, not making music they think other people may like. This is the sound of real life.

Russ Spence ‘Attempted Soundscapes EP’
(Metal Postcard Records)

This is the debut EP by Russ Spence the vocalist from The Salem Trials, whom I seem to write about on a monthly basis due to their prolific output. Attempted Soundscapes is an EP of experimental tracks that have more in common with Throbbing Gristle and the later works by Scott Walker, so not an EP you will be hearing on BBC 6Music anytime soon; although I could imagine the Freakzone having some fun with it.

The opening track ‘Take The Long Way Home’ is an atmospheric little beauty all spooky Halloween synths, muffled Prodigy drumbeats and the vocalizing of a ghostly Mark E Smith whispering sweet nothings to an empty pint glass. The second track, ‘Simple Sins’, features fellow Salem Trials member Andy on guitar, and supplies the sonic cathedral of feedback that runs throughout this moody atmospheric piece. It’s probably my fave of the four tracks on this excellent debut.

Cream Gorilla ‘S-T’
(NoMen)

Cream Gorilla were an experimental art-noise band from Tokyo who were together from 1997 to 2002 and got back together in 2022 for one final recording. Their complete output is now available on this CD, 35 tracks in all. As you would expect from an experimental art-noise band the tracks are indeed experimental and indeed very noisy but also mostly short: 35 tracks in 40 minutes. So gives you no chance to grow tired or bored of their strange chaotic noise outpourings. Well-done NoMen Records for gathering this delight of indeed artistic noise terror.

Bigfatbig ‘Rockin’ And Rollin’ and Whatnot’

The joyful sound of indie guitar pop; the well played, well written sound of two young ladies writing about the problems and real-life experiences young ladies have to deal with in this day and age, which I being a man in his mid 50s only get second hand from my daughter and my old Shangri-La’s albums. But I really enjoyed these four tracks. It is indeed a joyful romp that had me thinking back to the early days of Kenicke. I think Bigfatbig will do very well, and I wish them luck on their journey through the glittery cesspit that is the music industry.

Dot Dash  ‘Madman In The Rain’

The new Dot Dash album is upon us. Another half an hour or so of pure catchy pop with guitars that jangle and chime and strummed vigorously keyboards that alternate between sounding like they have just been holidaying from the Seeds debut album or from a hit from the Motors. Pure pop for not just now people but even for now and then people.

A Champagne filled picnic of sunny delight of an album is what this is.  I hear so many albums trying to achieve what this achieves, which is a well-written album of well-written pop songs. It even has good lyrics and hummable melodies, which is indeed a rarity believe me. C86, power pop and 60s garage pop combined beautifully to make an album of perfect pop.

Vlimmer ‘Menschenleere’
(Blackjack Illuminist Records)

I will be honest; I very rarely listen to goth music anymore. Back in my youth in the 80s I did enjoy the Sisters Of Mercy, Rose Of Avalanche, the Skeletal Family and such, like even having some of their albums. So I do not claim to be an expert on the genre, but I must admit to enjoying this album; an album of darkness with a slight pop edge at times reminding me of the Sisters Of Mercy being covered by Aha – can you imagine how much better the Sisters Of Mercy would have been with Morten Hacket singing lead.

This album will be up so many old goths streets they will be breaking out their velvet trousers and hairspray in a second of hearing the first doom laden chord. If it is possible to have an enjoyable romp through darkwave or whatever the pesky kids are calling it this week, then Vlimmer isindeed your man.

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