Playlist/Dominic Valvona

We’ve reached a milestone: the 50th edition of our imaginary cross-genre and cross-generational spanning radio show, the Monolith Cocktail Social.

That’s more than 3000 tracks of brilliance, the weird, the obscure and the cool shit; a series that started way back in 2013 as a way of creating the most eclectic of soundtracks. So as “inside” becomes the new “outside” in these pandemic times, relax and indulge in over three hours of everything you can suffix with the “Afro” tag, post-punk, desert blues, psychedelic, folk, soul, troubadours a plenty, Krautrock, dance, avant-garde and more. Even boomer doyen Joni Mitchell drops in with something new! What’s not to like.

Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

Selection/Writings/Fiction/Dan Shea





The Monolith Cocktail has coaxed a number of guest spot contributions from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this week released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan furnishes us with his new series of ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror and increasingly unfathomable, intangible fictions.



John Foxx – Blurred Girl

 

Glosso la la la la la lalia

What a beautiful word. What a beautiful world. What a beautiful girl. Birds are blue and sky is singing.

Christmas trees covet British DAYTIME and turn to warn mum but continuing from love, because, I was hunting. Talking (!).. was I furry from the covenant and hating the lithium charityyyyslide. But really I am merely soft and disappointing. I will either become an institution or institutionalised. I cannot sleep i am merely erratic and depressing, it’s fun and then it’s not and then I sleep no more. 

When I sleep for too long it feels like sex magick. I fall from one dream into another and you’re mine all of the time. Maybe my dreams are the most significant part of my life and reality is a distraction? Do you ever feel that way?

Gersten doesn’t have a key but she was suddenly with me in the shower. She shaved me, fully clothed all soaking wet and making sure to “accidentally” cut me in the right places. She put cigarettes out on my nipples as the sun came up. When the moon fell she was gone again. I don’t know where. She doesn’t ask me questions so I try not to be nosey. Nostalgia carved a glow ghost into me.



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Syd Barrett – Late Night

 

I remember playing this and drinking gin and orange while Ronnie fucked the guy from the arts council. The orange ran out as I was drinking the juice straight so eventually I was just necking gin. I passed out face down in a copy of House of Leaves.

My nan gave my dad that record player when he was a teenager as she thought he was dying. I’m 28 so it’s nearly 40 years old. Maybe he did die. Maybe none of this is real.

I fucking hope so or I’ll have to go to my mum and ask her to have an extremely late term abortion. “But REDACTED it’s been nearly 30 years!”, “This is best for everyone.”

The grey eyeless world sighs blood red and steeple dark. The rune cloud shows your name meandering into mine. I can’t remember my name but names aren’t important. There’s nothing in a name. When someone asks me my name I wonder what they think it means and why they believe I’m being honest with them. 

The party is over and we watch the nightlife crop itself shorter still through a haze of smoke. A mute TV shows static, like pictures in the fire I just about make out the image of a screaming woman being forced down a plug hole by a man who is nothing more than dead air. He stares into the camera.

You’d like to think he was looking at you thinking about getting pregnant with my genius but you realise only you think that way and I only ever did in the most mixed of company. 



Leonard Cohen – First We Take Manhattan

 

Lynch or Badalamenti must have played this before they scored Twin Peaks. The horn motif from I’m Your Man happening in the intro to this, foreshadowing almost, makes me view the album like a movie: as endings go Tower of Song is up there with Vertigo or the undecayed angelangelangel in Fire Walk With Me.

am not tranquil I am merely tranquilised

put his girlfriend’s dress on and honour his memory with my hands over my reflection for the second time in as many hours. Imagining my voice is her bratty whine and her hands are mine and he is watching.

Dark mutterings about a car so big you can lose a kid in it and the text messages we swapped after Michael Jackson died. If Kanye was white would you still be mocking him for having a manic episode or would you adopt the standard lib standpoint of making noises about “removing the stigma around mental health issues” while hoping we die soon?

Guilty fantasies about a specific guy caught on To Catch A Predator and what I’d do to make him think he could be released. Cum and come to senses. Gin + rap battles.

You loved me as a loser now you’re worried that I just might win” – L Cohen

Gersten/Rotten is insistent that I transcribe the contents of the tape I found so I will.

It begins with a voice, perhaps your own, asking for your number so they can phone you. It is followed by Surrender by Suicide; Coney Island Baby by Lou Reed; Blue Jeans by Lana Del Rey; Hospital Hurts the Girl by Lemon Kittens; a recording of gurgling water and a man screaming;

Dead Radio by Rowland S Howard; First We Take Manhattan by Leonard Cohen; Voices Seers Voices by Vukovar; Taking Life In Your Hands by John Cale; Blurred Girl by John Foxx; a man screaming about whores; a dignified old man with his hands folded; a man finding a cassette in a fridge.



Robert Rental – Double Heart

 

Side 2 begins with Double Heart by Robert Rental; a man listing songs on a cassette; Jesse by Scott Walker; a man in a shower weeping and screaming into a plug hole; Rothko’s kitchen sink; Voices Seers Voices by Vukovar; ectoplasm; Subterraneans by David Bowie; more ectoplasm; a girl in a black velvet dress; static; JG Ballard JG Ballard JG BALLARD; a megaphone swan song; Rook from Black Dresses describing you; an eternal loop of Gersten pissing.

Me I’m fine. The Swastika Girls dropped around and silently put beer in my fridge. I have been renamed Thomas Communication.

SHIT taming a hoover feel your gratitude and do my own part by some shouting. I want not know not feela thing same the and same the outside your mum arrives and 2 rings in2 hovering ion.

You were my music box dancer and you tried to be everything to everyone. I think endlessly of you in humiliating situations. I draw sigils on paper and use this to mop up drops of dhaal. 

Double Heart by Robert Rental drips the grey romance of a woozy early morning in Glasgow. It makes me shiver. It’s so fragile, unadorned angelangelixx. The drums are by the guy from DAF I believe. It’s a truly beautiful record. Like if Arthur Russell was Scottish.

In my memory it was playing when me and Ronnie sat down in that bubble tea place at what felt like the latest hour possible but was in fact March 8PM. In reality some terrible Disney sounding Asian pop music was playing. I remember buying a book of all the artwork from Mute Records releases and sitting in the sun getting gradually less and less sensible in some terrible hipster bar’s beer garden reading it. That was a great solitary afternoon. I prefer it when it’s by choice, though.



Tom Waits – Sea of Love

 

“Do you think Waits and Lynch working together would be too on the nose? To straightforwardly look at these old American weirdos fan service?”

An old man in a shop mobility scooter is slumped dead to the world behind the wheel. He is careening down a hill holding a can of cider which remains unspilled. 

“Nah. You overthink. The preponderance of midgets and people missing limbs in both their work aside.”



Transcript from Scene from Pulaski: The Disappeared

Sam is sat outside a cafe smoking a cigarette. She is drinking a cup of coffee. She is dressed in terrible early 00s cyber goth clothes including huge sunglasses. Pulaski approaches and sits down opposite her. 

 

Sam

Are you not going to have anything?

 

Pulaski

There’s time for that later. We can have all we want when we get there.

 

Sam

Where?

 

Pulaski

Remember that dream, where you were sat where I am now? Your sunglasses were just as big.

 

Sam

You kept telling me I looked like a goth owl.

 

Pulaski

Andrew Owldritch, yes.

 

Sam

Who?

 

Pulaski

And now you sound like an owl.

 

Sam

Who’s Andrew Owldritch?

 

Pulaski

It’s a play on Andrew Eldritch.

 

Sam

Who’s Andrew Eldritch?

 

Pulaski

Sisters of Mercy.

 

Beat.

 

Pulaski

You’re a shit goth. Let’s go.

 

Sam walks off with Pulaski still holding her cup and saucer. 

 

That’s how I remember it. I don’t think Lynch directed it as everyone had Northern accents and the dialogue definitely isn’t Lynchian. I’d upload a link to it but it’s only sometimes on my hard drive and whenever I upload the video my bathroom ceiling collapses.

Fragments of it keep bleeding through, distorted other dream languages. I’ll keep you updated as I remember it.



Galaxie 500 – Snowstorm

 

Several times I find myself soundtracking my life like its a film. Like the way I deliberately put Technique on when Ronn was arriving; or when I played Celluloid Heroes by The Kinks walking through a downpour knowing it’d make me feel like I was in a Wes Anderson film.

This was accidental and I’m aware I’m stretching the limits of plausible deniability here but I hope up to this point in my rolling news for Monolith Cocktail I have given you no reason to doubt the veracity of anything you have read.

didn’t originally plan to perform the ritual that briefly brought Ronnie back. I’d had a heavy night okay. 

One calm crisp evening I had finished work for the week. I went home, had a shower and as is my custom dressed up nicely to go out and see friends.

wore a blue and black polka dot shirt, some new black jeans, my brown leather Chelsea boots and my battered leather jacket. I put on a bit of eye shadow and back combed my hair a bit so I’d look full Mary Chain. Checking my pockets for my phone, wallet, keys and personal alarm I set out into a calm crisp winter evening. 

The holes in the sky were for once conspicuous by their absence although en route I did nearly get into a fight with a tree. A perfect moment – as Snowstorm by Galaxie 500 played it began to snow. A moment of beauty that compelled me to sit in the park by the bar til it was over.

I drank too much this I know but I’m told I did nothing embarrassing and no one even knew there was an issue. Walking home however was a fucking nightmare. Not just because of the snow and hail getting in my eyes but because as I approached the stretch of road to the HACK DOOR my surroundings began to shift.

The lightings were all a lot brighter now but flicker. The ground now throbbed criss-crossed with network veins that pulsated sickeningly conveying the blood through the infant city. I dragged on, trying to avoid the veins as you would cracks in the pavement. A sudden sense something was watching me as the path home elongated. Every step the word Ritual. Step. Ritual. Step. Ritual.

I looked to his left to see the source of the voice. The voice I think with sounds like my own so I knew it wasn’t me. Nothing. Buildings unchanged. To the right there was a thing dragging itself along. A bloated foetal figure gurgling and puking, an umbilicus ever extending with my every step. The malformed lips mouth ritual but the sound arrives fully formed in my head.

This continued for hours and somehow along the way I found myself naked and bloodied. Ritual. Step. Ritual. Step. Finally my head voice spoke yes and I found myself again fully dressed and deposited on the back step. I looked up at the HACK DOOR and saw it form in smoke. Ritual. Your bind rune meanders into mine forming ours. Tattooed on the tin foil mirror of my synapse the first time she came home from death.

I realise I drew this sigil the night we met. That’s the night I first knew I was your pet. I want to tell you how much I love you but I’m drowning in a sea of love where everyone would love to drown. 



Ramones – Pet Sematery

 

Farrow sits in his office staring blankly at a block red painting with a black life rune drawn on it. Smoke spools outside the window. A cup of coffee on his desk, a cigarette in his hand. An assistant walks in and, trying not to make eye contact with him, hangs a black painting with a red death rune on next to it. He then scurries out. Farrow stands. 

Farrow

How blind I have been!

He then sits down again and resumes staring.

The display turns to static. Maybe your own refleReflected in the TV is a worried looking man sat next to a catatonic woman. The head resting on his shoulder: is it for comfort or to keep her upright?

 

Dan Shea


Previous Episodes:

#1

#2

Selection/Horror-Lit/Dan Shea





The Monolith Cocktail is grateful to have coaxed a number of guest spot contributions from the impassioned and adroit musician/writer Dan Shea. Roped into his family’s lo fi cult music business, The Bordellos, from a young age, the candid but humble maverick has gone onto instigate the chthonian Vukovar (currently working through a trio of ‘greatest hits’ packages here) and, with one part of that ever-shambling post-punk troupe, musical foil Buddy Preston, the seedy bedsit synth romantics Beauty Stab (who’ve just this month released their second single ‘French Film Embrace’, here)

An exceptional talent (steady…this is becoming increasingly gushing) both in composing and songwriting, the multi-instrumentalist and singer is also a dab hand at writing. For his debut, Dan shared a grand personal ‘fangirl’ purview of major crush, the late Rowland S. Howard (which can be found here), on the eve of Mute Records appraisal style celebration reissue of his highly influential cult albums ‘Teenage Snuff Film’ and ‘Pop Crimes’. This was followed by an often difficult, unsettling, potted with dark comedy, read on Dan’s friend and foil Simon Morris (of the Ceramic Hobs infamy; the piece can be read here), who took his own life last year.

Now, from his lockdown quarantine, Dan furnishes us with his new series of ‘imaginary film screening jukebox’ selections come loose horror fictions. Part Two awaits….



Lemon Kittens – The Hospital Hurts The Girl

“Not all lives matter. Not the lives of the people who make people like us into people like us. Not at all”

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“Some fires have to be put out. No one cares for the sentience of the flame. I invite you closer, with that, to a darker fire.”

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“What’re you cunting on about you drunk cunt?”

Listening to music in the shower is a pointless exercise as the water drowns it out. Drinking in silence in the shower is pure desolation. Listening to music in the shower while drinking, baby, that’s where it’s at. O the cruelty of duty. Memory shards hath made me a glow ghost.

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I closely inspect the plughole. She’s not down there. Ronette, baby, how could we fall so far? Karl Blake’s stentorian voice washes over me as I drain the rest of this can of Perla. It seems she only appears in the drain when I’m blinking so I stop blinking. The water is hot, but not that hot. Not as hot as it was when

“Well, you know”

988rtdCdf4e3

A series of still images:

A small child falling down the stairs. The doll body photographed mid air. 

A bird falling from the sky. The bird is photographed mid air. 

A dignified old man, clasping his hands in front of him. His granddaughter is playing with a toy monkey. 

An echo, maybe your echo.


John Cale – Taking Life In Your Hands

 

Gersten called. It was the strangest thing. I didn’t even need to switch my phone on to hear her speaking. When we last spoke I’d called her drunk out of my mind because I’d deluded myself that she’d committed suicide. She said she was worried about me and wanted to check I was okay. I reassured her that I wasn’t.

“Sampling is such an integral part of the process for many that sample clearance isn’t a worry unless you sell a million records anyway. Incidentally I am quite pissed and thinking about weird fetishes I have developed. Like attractive women coughing, dunno what that’s about. Gerst, I frequently imagine you in humiliating situations but ones where your beauty is fully showcased.”

Our favourite client called around as well. He wanted to check I was okay. I reassured him I wasn’t then I sucked his dick. I wish people would stop pitying me and checking on me.

‘magine et main line the scene – he’s pissed on supermarket spirits that he’s drinking out of a Pepsi bottle in the snow and you’re doing exactly the same. He’s sat outside a pub smoking the lonely remnants of a fag. And then i come along, also the lonely remnants of a fag.

The echo resounds, maybe even your own echo. 

Gersten angel angelangelangelangel.

It’s at this point it becomes clear that there is either more than one narrator or that the narrator has lost his fucking mind. 

A bird falling from the sky. The bird is photographed mid air. Fish are flopping gasping and rotting on the dried up riverbed. The dog kids have arrived. The grey pin prick holes are opening wider to close again when you look away. The moon stands still on the day I am finally calcified.



David Bowie – Subterraneans

Low is a great album about depression. It really captures that feeling perfectly. I read a section in a recent Bowie biography recently about him totally losing his shit when John Lennon died. Otherwise he came off as quite cold and calculating.

Low was finishing on the afternoon Gersten came into my life. I was sat, hungover, in my living room listening to Low when a mist descended upon me. Not a metaphorical mist either. The air was electric blue and sugar. My senses were not all that was fogged. As Subterraneans wound to a close, Bowie’s lonely sax honks amid the churning proto Coil electronics, there was a knock at the door.

I waded through the fog to the hack door. I had presumed it was someone who knew me, as it’s common knowledge I only really answer the front door to get a pizza. An attractive woman in her late 30s was stood there. G.

“Dan I need to hide out somewhere for a while. Things just aren’t making sense.”

She kissed me and I didn’t care that I didn’t know who she was but she somehow knew who I was. When a film noir beauty shows up, as soon as you’ve felt her up enough to be clear she’s not packing heat you let the dame in and pour her a drink. 

The first time a client came around was a bit of a shock I’ll admit but I just busied myself in the living room. The first time a client asked me to join in was even more of a shock but now we work only as a pair. It’s cool. I get to live out my Dennis Cooper fantasies even as my late 20s takes me from twink to otter.

The broad certainly had a hold on me, a vice like grip on the verge of splitting my balls like an egg. 

I envision us now. The party is over and I’m on the verge of disappearing into the couch. I’ve put Roy Orbison’s bizarre attempt at disco Laminar Flow on to gently encourage people to fuck in the off direction. Our mute TV shows only static. You step in front of me in your black velvet dress. I unzip it to find you have nothing on underneath. You climb into my lap, Gersten/Ronette/Naomi and this comes on.



Rowland S Howard – Dead Radio

 

I’ve always found pale skinny boys who look like they take too many drugs smoking to be a turn on. Now it turns out, thanks to you, I’m turned on by women doing it. 

I was SCREAAAAAMING into a microphone between your legs as you dumped the ashes into a can of Red Stripe. We were both naked. This was streamed across the world and we both got ourselves off to the video after the fact. 

This tension in glances, this French film embrace this lustful tarantella. I carve my initials into you with my tongue. You’re the most beautiful woman of my nightmares. Your voice is lullaby soft and ethereal chimes sound in your wake. I press my face between your thighs and whisper your name into the depths of you.

I refuse to watch this one disappear. I call her up, I’ve fallen off the wagon and I’m making no sense. I’ve not eaten for days because I’m conscious of people wondering who the fat guy she’s with is. Maybe he’s a community pet she looks after. Maybe the council make her drive him around.

I was having one of my nightmares about past abuse and I woke up sweating in her arms. She calmed me down until I closed my eyes and saw her ceiling spider crawling. He reopened the eyes and you said softly to him “Supplanter?”



Vukovar – Voices / Seers / Voices

One of my clients was Dan from Vukovar. Apparently his then girlfriend had paid for him to hook up with me and G, she was a stern faced American lady who sat and watched. Anabella her name was. What he lacked in confidence he made up for with a strange, hand flapping autistic charm.

One SNOWY CALM CRISP FUCK morning I awoke to find someone had dumped a fridge behind my house. IN THERE I FOUND A CASSETTE. I WILL TRANSCRIBE THE TRACK LIST FOR YOU WHEN I AM AT LIBERTY. AT PRESENT THAT DAME IS MONOPOLISING MY TIME LIKE CYNDI LAUPER. 

Dan wouldn’t stop going on about this guy called Simon, stank of booze and insisted on us playing Rowland S Howard while this was all happening which suited me. Everything was amazing and cool to him, like he was American or something. He was strangely insistent on blowing me on the shower and he kept inspecting the plug hole as if I he could see her peeking out.

What gets me isn’t the lurid neon atrocity but the revelation of the lack revealed. Gemma Barker. I’m like Sotos but I fetishise the aggressor not the victim. My art will bleed into your world and you will question even traffic lights. Show me what you are and I’ll show you what I’ve already taken. Relax, baby. It’s done. 



New Order – Dream Attack

 

I remember the first time I met Ronette. We’d been talking online for a long time and she flew over from Germany for us to both stay in an Air B’n’B (bed and breakfast) in Hulme. I wanted to go there but my passport had expired and I was skint. She looked a lot like Gersten come to think of it.

I was greeted at the door by a dishevelled Welsh man in a bathrobe called Ralph who gave me the key to the flat and we sat and had a cup of tea and bemoaned the fortunes of Blackburn Rovers. My mate Cam had a trial for them. Good guy, Cam. We met in a dream.

I was listening to Technique by New Order and then I got a text. “Sweetie I’m outside”. Me and Ronnie met for the first time with Dream Attack playing, and Ralph was there. We kissed like our lips were molten.

Part of the reason I love Dream Attack is that despite Bernard’s obvious lyrical shortcomings, “I can’t see the sense in you leaving” is such a great line. Such a practical Northern way of looking at it. “Do you have to go? It’s a bit pointless.”. I couldn’t see the sense in Ronnie going that time. Or when she went down the plug hole. That was really fucking weird.


Dan Shea

Reviews Special/Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea




Brian ‘Bordello’ Shea joined the Monolith Cocktail team in January 2019. The cult leader of the infamous lo fi gods, The Bordellos, 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 Bordellos beautifully despondent pains-of-the-heart and mockery of clique “hipsters” ode to Liverpool, and the diatribe ‘Boris Johnson Massacre’. He has also released, under the Idiot Blur Fanboy moniker, a stripped down classic album of resignation and Gallagher brothers’ polemics.

Each week we send a mountain of new releases to the self-depreciating maverick to see what sticks. In his own idiosyncratic style and turn-of-phrase, pontificating aloud and reviewing with scrutiny an eclectic deluge of releases, here Brian’s latest batch of recommendations.



Cosse ‘Nothing Belongs To Anything’
(À Tant Rêver du Roi/Grabuge Records) EP/12 June 2020



This EP has a certain moody dark grey charm about it: all Slint atmospherics and Jeff Buckley carefree smiles, a place where angst and beauty collide to make the soundtrack of a unmade 90’s road movie. Snarling feedback guitars and beautifully screamed whispers from both males and females slowly strips the layers of dust and heartache to leave the naked throbbing of the stripped down decaying heart of a future yesterday memory.






8 Floors Up ‘Roman Bones Make Good Glue’
Single/26th June 2020



Ah is this going to take us back to the wonderful summer of 89 when baggy ruled the airwaves. This is quite a magical groove that reminds one of the golden days of the Mondays and Roses a song I can see doing very well radio play wise in the months ahead. And for once, a song that will be worthy of such an honour; a track that is lying in the stars staring at the gutter.






Cathedral Bells ‘Undertow’
Single/29th May 2020



This is quite a lovely thing indeed, Johnny Marr ‘These Things Take Time’ guitar and the swooning like Cocteau Twins vocals merge into a blissful just under three minute pop rush of pure indie perfection: a song to be listened to on repeat with your favourite person by your side smiling along.






Inglourious Basterds ‘Something In the Air’
Single/3rd June 2020



A cover of the old Thunderclap Newman classic you’re asking yourselves? And the answer is yes. Covering a well known and overplayed radio fave is always a risky move unless you are willing to take the track and reinterpret it in a completely different way, making the song sound like your own; and to a certain extent The Inglourious Basterds succeed. The first part of the track just being drums and a fine vocal that brings out the beauty and meaning of the wonderful lyrics highlighting again the fine melody of the original and then it explodes into a Sonic Youth meets Dinosaur Jnr. guitar duel, where both parties are left beaten to a pulp by the tracks end and the winner being you the listener. It’s free to download from Bandcamp.






National Treasure ‘Come And Go’
(Keep Me In Your Heart) Single/19th June 2020



This track reminds me of a school project to make a pop single that’s to be sung by a saucy maths teacher. It has that slightly seedy feel which is a good thing. It also has a looseness and throwaway pop fluff feel to it too. The song is about faking an orgasm so maybe this sounding like a school project faking a pop single is what they were going for.






HighSchool ‘Frosting’
Video Single/8th June 2020



Joy Division keyboards, early Cure matching bass and guitar lines and sub Ian Curtis vocals: yes it’s another how much we loved indie in the 80s release. And this is a jolly enough affair. And if you like the indie sound you will like this as it is done very well, and is their debut release so good luck to them.







Aimee Steven ‘Darling’
(Jacaranda Records) Single/15th May 2020



I quite like how this sounds like Chicory Tip, not an influence you hear everyday it must be said but this is a catchy little ditty that goes around in a riff shaped circle, which for those who do not know what shape that is should listen to this lovely piece of guitar pop. I can imagine Mickie Most giving this a thumbs up on New Faces; and do you know what? The old chap would be right.





The Rubettes ‘Glamnezia’
Single/12th June 2020



I really wanted to love this, I really did. I loved The Rubettes in the 70s; them alongside Mud and Alvin Stardust and Gary Glitter sound tracked my infant and junior school days: I remember being sat in front of the TV every Thursday transfixed by the magic of Top Of The Pops. But sadly this song I listened to over and over again trying to decide as whether it was a joke or not, the lyrics really are so bad they are laughable, it has even to my mind surpassed Oasis’s song ‘Little James’ as the worst song written by a grown up. In fact I have to tip my hat to them for their guts to release it. “It does not get much easier in fact it gets much sleazier when you have amnesia”, even Jack Black would not succumb to such depths with his unfunny homages to hard rock; this track does in a cartoon overblown way, with the guitar turned up to eleven and the torturous vocals [yes torturous to listen to]. I bet the singer could eat three shredded wheat and I’m sure the producer must have had shredded wheat rammed down his ears to get through the recording session. But saying that, I’m looking forward to the album.



Guts Club ‘Song For Carm’
Single/29th May 2020



Since I’m the only person in this world who has never watched The Sopranos I have nothing to compare this to, as this is a cover of the theme song. Saying that, I like this; it sounds like a drunk mumbling down a well which is a lot better than a lot of the aural shit I have ploughed through this afternoon believe me.






Chris Cech ‘Sloth’
Album/8th May 2020



I know nothing of Chris Cech apart from the fact he recorded this wonderful album in his mother’s basement and it’s available to download from his Bandcamp site, which I advise you to do, as it recalls the manic pop thrills of the four great guitar ‘bs – Big Star, Beatles, Buzzcocks and Big Star again – without actually sounding like any of them. Actually it has more of a feel of the great Alex Chilton’s solo work and the early Go Betweens, but anyway it is brillant guitar music and has melodies aplenty and Chris has that rare pop nouse to make quite timeless gems sound like quite timeless gems, and this album is full of the little blighters. A very fine album indeedy.






Playlist/Dominic Valvona





For all our friends and followers alike in various states of emergence from a full coronavirus lockdown and the escalating events of George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police, let the Monolith Cocktail ease some of the anxiety, uncertainty and the rage with another volume of Dominic Valvona’s cross-generational, cross-genre Social Playlists (the 46th edition in fact).

Soothing the soul, embracing the eclectic the blog’s imaginary radisohow (or podcast if you prefer) brings together tracks from across time, genres and the globe to take the listener on a musical odyssey of discovery.

For those of you without access to Spotify, we’ve chosen a random smattering of tracks from Youtube.



Tracks In Full:

Mombasa  ‘Yenyeri’
Horoya  ‘Sete Curvas’
Chrissy Zebby Tembo  ‘Coffin Maker’
Colin Hare  ‘For Where Have You Been’
Dick Stusso  ‘I Am Not The Girl You Used To Know’
Stack Waddy  ‘It’s All Over Now’
The Research  ‘All These Feelings’
The Weather Prophets  ‘The Key To My Love Is Green’
Ludus  ‘Little Girls’
Itadi  ‘Ye, Ye, Ye’
Kashmere Stage Band  ‘Thank You’
Hooksy  ‘Flying Market’
Twin Hype  ‘Do It To The Crowd’
Neek The Exotic  ‘Backs and Necks’
Nolan Porter  ‘Iron Out The Rough Spots’
Rob Sonic  ‘Jesus Christ Super Tramp’
Tommy McGee  ‘The Hatch’
Mike Nyoni and Born Free  ‘It’s Only A Dream’
Allen Toussaint And Eldridge Holmes  ‘Gone Gone Gone’
Easy Kabaka Brown  ‘Belema’
Sola  ‘Tu Te Has Ido’
Crystal Syphon  ‘Have More Of Everything’
The Pretty Things  ‘Baron Saturday’
The Overton Berry Trio  ‘Hey Jude’
Shawn Phillips  ‘From All Of Us’
Jad Fair  ‘Haunted By Frankenstein’
The Dream  ‘Four Phone-Calls’
The Youngbloods  ‘Faster All The Time’
Quatermass  ‘Make Up Your Mind’
Sam Rivers, Anthony Cole, Doug Matthews  ‘Spark’
Nate Morgan  ‘Mrafu’
Clap! Clap!  ‘Southern Dub’
Psychic Ills  ‘Never Learn Not To Love’
The Pretty Things  ‘Parachute’
Drum Circus  ‘Groove Rock’
Thunder And Roses  ‘Moon Child’
Goran Kajfes Subtropic Arkestra ‘I’m On My Way/Patch Of Blue’
Sarah Webster Fabio  ‘Together/To The Tune Of Coltrane’s ‘Equinox”
Awa Poulo  ‘Djara Wilam’
Willis Earl Beal  ‘True’


Video Choices





Hi, my name is Dominic Valvona and I’m the Founder of the music/culture blog monolithcocktail.com For the last ten years I’ve featured and supported music, musicians and labels we love across genres from around the world that we think you’ll want to know about. No content on the site is paid for or sponsored and we only feature artists we have genuine respect for /love. If you enjoy our reviews (and we often write long, thoughtful ones), found a new artist you admire or if we have featured you or artists you represent and would like to buy us a coffee at https://ko-fi.com/monolithcocktail to say cheers for spreading the word, then that would be much appreciated.

News: Exciting Collaboration





The Monolith Cocktail in collaboration with leading Italian music publication Kalporz will be cosying up and sharing reviews, interviews and other bits from our respective sites each month. Keep an eye out for future ‘synergy’ between our two great houses as we exchange posts.

Our inaugural post has just gone up on Kalporz; a review of the upcoming blistering tumult from the Italian-Tunisian post-punk-meets-Sufi-ritual Ifriqiyya Electrique. Catch that review here

The first Kalporz post will be published shortly. But first, here’s some background on Kalporz:

Kalporz writes about music, with his own musical vision, since 2000.
Kalporz is a careful observer of news, trends, emerging scenes, but without chasing the dominant taste: he is in search of “beautiful things”. He hopes to publish articles well written and carefully, in an original way, without filters and, of course, independently.

The editorial project is under the Creative Commons regime (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 IT) and in 2018 it was voted as the best Italian music site by the Meeting of Independent Labels (MEI) and Musicletter (https://www.musicletter.it/index.php/2018/08/27/kalporz-e-reverendo-lys-vincono-la-targa-mei-musicletter-2018-premio-speciale-a-umbria-jazz-come-miglior-festival-musicale-italiano/).

The Kalporz family is composed of the founder Luca Vecchi, the editors Paolo Bardelli, Monica Mazzoli, Piero Merola, Enrico Stradi, Matteo Mannocci, Gianluigi Marsibilio, and about twenty other collaborators, as well as three photographers.
The collaborators are from all parts of Italy, even if the main base of Kalporz is between Reggio Emilia, a town near the “famous” Canossa, the Adriatic Sea and Florence.



Review & Recommendations Roundup – Dominic Valvona




Kicking off 2019 this inaugural edition of Dominic Valvona’s eclectic roundup of new releases includes the new, and only second solo, autobiographical framed album from art/sex/music icon Cosey Fanni Tutti; the dual-album celebration of Germany’s Station 17 collective (originally formed as a musical therapeutic experiment between a Hamburg group of mentally handicapped residents and musicians), marking thirty years of experimental sonic sculpting and collaboration; the dazed jingle-jangle shoegaze from the London outfit Deep Cut – releasing their first album for the Gare du Nord label –, a new album from Tim Presley’s White Fence of soft psychedelic, new wave, fragile troubadour and yearning off-kilter analogue electronic bulletins; a single-type release of bewitching romantic morose from the Uruguay duo Clovvder and a real bona-fide 7” slice of vinyl from legendary English psychedelic luminary Twink and the Gare du Nord label’s unofficial house band all-stars, Papernut Cambridge and Picturebox.

 

Chasing up releases from the fag-end of 2018 I also take a look at the repackage appraisal of the rare and much sought-after 1978 Celtic-folk album from Flibbertigibbet, Whistling Jigs To The Moon, and a collection of previously unreleased recordings from the obscure 60s/70s, genre spanning Paraguay duo JODI, plus delve into the mind of the music composer artist Garrett N., who follows up (tens year later) on his debut album with an ambitious progressive suite of high quality-produced hard rock, funk, sound collage, Hip-Hop, psych and astral synth, Let’s Get Surreal.



Albums

Cosey Fanni Tutti ‘Tutti’
(Conspiracy International) 8th February 2019




After five decades at the cutting edge of subversive performance, conceptual art, and with pushing the envelope of cerebral industrial electronic music there’s no sign of stopping the grand dame icon of the leftfield Cosey Fanni Tutti from continuing to deconstruct and contextualise the limits of the sonic abyss.

Even in recent framed ‘autobiographical’ years, Cosey could hardly be accused of languishing on past glories; the results of a pinnacle year in retrospection revitalized and worked to produce this, Cosey’s only solo album since 1982’s Time To Tell. It could be said that the controversially open artist’s – who has all but laid herself bare physically and sexually in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of morality, taste and censorship – practice is wholly autobiographical; Tutti being no different in that respect.

Originally created as a soundtrack for the Harmonic Coumaction film as part of a wider COUM Transmissions retrospect (the Dadaist, and to an extent, Fluxus inspired enfant terror group of which Cosey, alongside Throbbing Gristle’s Genesis P-Orridge, co-founded in 1969) that opened the Hull, UK City of Culture celebrations in 2017, the caustic but often vaporous diaphanous eight soundscapes that make-up this latest album can be read as a continuum of Cosey’s biography (published in the same year) and on-going assessment.

Untethered to any particular place or time, spanning the decades to inform both present and future, Tutti is meant to be both an extension yet ‘stand alone document’. Transformed, manipulated and re-processed in the ‘now’, the various abstract perspectives and past incarnations are presented as a sophisticated soundtrack of mostly serialism shifting moods and evocations.

Nuanced and subtle, Cosey refines a legacy that includes Throbbing Gristle and various Chris Carter partnerships to produce a minimalist Techno with ominous otherworldly atmospherics, wafting esoteric style jazz pines and both inner and outer minded cosmological elemental style conceptual album. The title-track itself layers lingering mysterious exotic lingers of jazzy saxophone over distant pounded kinetic beats, cutting tetchy subdued mechanics and suffused drones that touch upon that sonic legacy.

Elsewhere on this series of suites pattering beats cloak alien avian squawks on the wilderness of ‘Drone’; hollow winds blow through metallic rotations on the wizened alluded ‘Sophic Ripple’; Cosey’s veiled apparition lulls drift amorphously in liquid reverberations on ‘Heily’; and leviathans pass over a bending Tangerine Dream like expanse on ‘En’.

Those more familiar with Cosey’s history might recognize title references, sonic prompts, and the use of atavistic arcane spiritual language (the album’s cascading crystalized mirror, ‘Orenda’, using and channeling the Iroquois group of Native American tribes’ name for the spiritual power inherent in people and their environment; the force behind divination, prophecy and soothsaying, amongst others), yet Tutti is a deconstructive breakdown of that same past, built back-up and put together to offer a new dialogue and visage going forward.

Not so much a revelation as ‘continuum’, Cosey’s first solo album in over thirty-six years is a clever atmospherically mysterious and sagacious soundtrack that transmogrifies a lifetime of ‘art, sex and music’ into a most recondite purview of effective electronica.









Station 17 ‘Werkschau’ & ‘Ausblick’
(Bureau B) 1st February 2019




Growing and developing way beyond the initial perimeters of a social experiment between the mentally handicapped residents of a Hamburg community and the independent musician Kai Boysen, Station 17 (as they would become known) has made a sizable and influential mark on the German music scene. From humble beginnings as a stimuli therapeutic project in 1989, the always evolving collaborative group has blossomed into an internationally acclaimed touring band, released over ten albums of eclectic experimentation and worked with an enviable cast of cross-generational artists: from members of the old guard such as Can, Faust, Tangerine Dream and Neu! to more contemporary Techno and electronic artists as DJ Koze, Datashock and Kurt ‘the Pyrolator’ Dahlke.

Spontaneous throughout, the constantly-changing lineup behind Station 17 effortlessly merge and rework Krautrock, Kosmische, Pop, Post-Punk and Techno music into something unique and, above all, democratized: the varying disabilities of the collective’s cast inevitably feed into the process, yet offer no barrier to creativity.

Celebrating thirty years of such experimental and inspired music exploration and performance, on the 1st of February Station 17 will both pause to take stock of the back catalogue, with the retrospective collection Werkschau, whilst looking forward to new sonic horizons, with the release of their eleventh LP proper, Ausblick – a companion piece to last year’s Blick (which made our albums of the year features). The first of these albums – sporting a homage to Can’s Landed album cover art – Werkschau crisscrosses the group’s cannon; from the 1990 self-titled debut album right up to the already mentioned 2018 triumph, Blick.

Certain albums gravitated towards the trends and zeitgeist of the times, but tracks, often a decade or more apart, sit together well with no discernable difference in quality or production. The first trio of tracks for instance, stretch across three decades; moving between the panted, mooning and gasped vocal free-form post-punk of ‘Feeger’, from the Debut LP, to the industrial drum’n’bass, Kraftwerkian meets NIN ‘Budemeister’, taken from the 2006 LP Mikroproffer, and the shimmery bossa electro-pop of ‘Techno Museum 2’, taken from the 1997 LP, Bravo. Elsewhere there are shades of limbering DFA Records-sign-Populare Mechanik, on the 2011 Fieber album track ‘Uh-Uh-Uh’; Bowie oozing over the Art Of Noise on, what could be homage to the Hamburg district and city’s infamous pirate insignia football club, ‘St. Pauli Der Hat Heute Geburts Tag’; and the luminous lunar bound’s of Can’s ‘Dizzy Dizzy’ can be heard permeating another 2011 track, ‘Zuckermalone’.



Guest appearances/collaborations being Station 17’s forte this retrospective includes an abundance of them; including the gangly-Hip-Hop Fetter Brot match-up ‘Ohne Regen Kein Regenbogen’ and the slick sonar reverberated Yellow Magic Orchestra hued, Michael Rothar travelling ‘Bogie Bogie Báka’. (Both tracks of which are taken from the collaborative dedicated 2008 album, Goldstein Variation). It also neatly ties-in with the group’s upcoming album rather well, featuring as it does Station 17’s bridging collaboration with Andreas Spechtl of Ja, Panik! fame, ‘Dinge’, taken from the last album Blick: The upcoming Ausblick conceived in the PR spill as that record’s congruous twin. A companion piece, it shares more or less the very same lineup of guests, featuring once more the mischievous faUSt instigators Zappi and Jean-Hervé, new wave pop appropriator Andreas Dorau, the power-up Düsseldorf and Berlin straddling duo of one-time Ashra and Klaus Schulze drummer Harald Grosskopf and former Kraftwerk, Neu! and Pissoff journeyman Eberhard Kranemann, Tangerine Dream convert Ulrich Schnauss, contemporary electronic artist Schneider TM and of course, Spechtl.

Though this time around tracks seem to be far more expansive on the whole, loose and cosmic, especially the Pyrolator team-up ‘Geisterstunde, Baby’, which bounds and bends to a craning Jah Wobble-esque elasticity, and the Soon Over Babaluma galactic dusting ‘Un Astronaut’, which features both Schneider and old Krautrock hand, founder of GAM and echo guitar pioneer, Günter Schickert.

Wafting aromas of Eastern mystery, free-form jazz and liquid serialism permeate this album as Techno meets with Industrial, post-punk funk and My Life In The Bush Of Ghosts era bass lines; resulting in one of Station 17’s most sophisticated, mature and thoughtful albums yet. A Teutonic odyssey, Ausblick’s enviable guest list certainly helps, yet it is the enthusiasm and spirit of the collective’s ‘wohngruppe’ that enrich and offer a distinct perspective.

Not resting on their laurels, Station 17 simultaneously looks back whilst cosmically being propelled forward, releasing both their new and retrospective albums on the same day. Thirty years in, those humble origins far exceeding expectations, Station 17 continue to produce the goods.



White Fence ‘I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk’
(Drag City) January 25th 2019




The unassuming maverick artist Tim Presley paints outside the lines; his idiosyncratic applied coloring-in like a double vision of kaleidoscopic floating blurriness. Deeply felt yet softened and often languid in practice, Presley’s off-kilter musings blend lo fi psychedelia with quirky troubadour sadness, jilting punk, library music, and early analogue synthesized music, and on this latest album of sweetened, hazy malady, the Kosmische, to create the most dreamy of soft bulletins.

Wise in his choice of associations, Presley has in recent years formed a fruitful bond with fellow American maverick Ty Segall – their latest collaboration, Joy, was released back in the summer of 2018 -, and Welsh artist Cate Le Bon – pairing up to form the odd lolloping DRINKS. It was whilst bunking down at Le Bon’s grotto in the Lake District in the winter that he wrote the songbook that would eventually become I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk; the admittedly rudimental skilled Presley, sat crafting ideas on Le Bon’s piano whilst she was out adding another string to her already stretched polymath bow, designing wooden furniture at night school.

Once back in the States, imbued even further by his recent move from L.A. to San Francisco, Presley called upon fellow lo fi graduate and face of Lazy Magnet, Jeremy Harris, to help mold and transform his halcyon transatlantic sketches. Harris is credited as the all-round talent that learnt and then, more or less, played and recorded this curious collection in the San Fran located studio of former Bees founder and producer, Paul Butler.

Amorphously wafting between the bucolic and tragic psychedelic whimsy of England, the Warm Jets era of Eno, the fragility lament of Nilsson and the cerebral lurch of The Swell Maps, Richard Hell and David Byrne, Presley’s bendy vulnerabilities sound understated and lo fi but dream big. The title-track, with postmodernist élan, embodies this spirit perfectly; merging the magical if unsure twinkle of Willy Wonka with Pete Dello, Syd Barrett and a slacker Ray Davis. Suffused venerable organs, monastery-like intonations, and the lightest of washes all sit well with the gangly disjointed lolloping guitars and the woozy drug-induced new wave rock’n’roll longing of such tragic mavericks as Johnny Thunders, who Presley dreamt appeared before him, from beyond the grave, with a message of encouragement: “To be honest and simple”. Opening up to a point, Presley’s sighed, understated vocals deliver lyrics swaddled in psychedelic analogy and lazed daydreaming resignation.

Closing the album, the final two-part suite of Ham Reductions, is an experiment in perpetual arpeggiator analogue-electronics. Split in to ‘A: Morning’ and ‘B: Street & Inside Mind’ bookends, these pleasant retro-futurist never-ending instrumentals both evoke the familiarity of Cluster and Eno. Reconfiguring a binary computerized language, each piece is probed and piqued by glistened but more caustic harsher interruptions flows and the sound of the traffic: The inner workings of Presley’s mind transduced into calculating, ruminative passages from another era.

Tethering a multitude of ideas and influences to something more concrete and solid can’t have been easy, but I Have To Feed Larry’s Hawk captures those blurred reimaging’s within the amorphous boundaries of a successful off-kilter album of dreamy magnificence and wonky indulgences.





Flibbertigibbet ‘Whistling Jigs To The Moon’
(Sommer) December 5th 2019

JODI ‘My Espontáneo’
(Out-Sider Music) December 5th 2019




Feeding an insatiable hunger for obscure (sometimes for good reason) missives and forgotten links in the chain of music history, the Spanish Guerssen hub of multifaceted labels dishes up an abundance of rarities from around the world, and across time. Two such rare finds have piqued my interest this month, the first from the Paraguay duo JODI, and second, a reissue of the fleeting Celtic lunar imbued Flibbertigibbet album, Whistling Jigs To The Moon.

Faithful to the name, the Out-Sider Music imprint digs out a hotchpotch of previously unreleased recordings from the Wenger brothers, Joem and Dirk. Gathered together under the Pop Espontáneo title – a title that only goes so far in describing the duo’s highly diverse styles and influences – this compilation captures the brother’s at their most experimental, as they graduated from the schoolmates band The Rabbits to the sibling duo JODI and later still, after signing a contract with EMI-Argentina, IODI.

Isolated to a degree in their Paraguay homeland, cut-off to an extent from their peers, an unburdened and unpressured JODI relentlessly recorded an abundance of genre-bending songs and instrumentals at their 8-track studio in Asunción. The results of which, in the main, were self-financed and released in very small numbers privately.

Early adepts of the Moog, which they use with a cosmic relish throughout the majority of these recordings, the Wenger’s could be said to have been innovators in South American psychedelic boogie and space-age disco rock. Aggrandizing the brothers further, the PR spill and accompanying linear notes hold them up as pioneers; diy and lo fi doyens whose sound was ahead of its time. To be fair, at times you think you’re hearing the kernel of Ariel Pink or R Stevie Moore, but far from humble beginnings, the Wenger’s certainly had the cash to spill, owning as they did a state-of-the-art studio, a mellotron, moog and clavinet, which were hardly cheap or even easy to come by at the time of their late 60s and early 70s flowering.

If you’ve already heard Out-Sider’s repackage of the duo’s 1971 album, Pops de Vanguardia – possibly, as claimed, the first lo fi diy garage-psych album to be produced on the continent – you’ll be familiar with their method of blending Santana-like Latin rock with clavinet croaking heavenly funk and psychedelic garage to produce melodious pop. Digging deeper into the archives and stockroom, their ‘sound-alikes’ collection unearths such hidden gems as ‘Change Your Mind About Me’, which pitches soft American 70s rock with phaser-guitar and tropical percussion; the Steppenwolf-in-leather bastardized Beatles riff at the discotheque Glam-rocking, ‘Take Me Higher’; the Brian Auger rock’n’roll meets psych sermon, ‘Sunburst Of Bees’; and The Monkees harmonize over The Smoke, ‘I Will Wait For You’. But you’re bound to hear smatterings of Bolan, Mick Ronson, Sensations Fix, Amen Corner and The Kinks on this crisscrossing compilation.

Technically proficient they use all kinds of tricks, effects and overlays to skewer their visionary rock music pop. And if this kind of thing interests you, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the booklet describes all these various methods and the instruments used in great detail – guitar wise, the brothers showed a penchant for the Fender Jaguar and Jazz bass. Unfortunately enervated by the pressures of recording for a major label, the German-Paraguay brothers were forced to record more commercially viable hits. And so these recordings are only seeing the light of day forty odd years later, after the JODI heydays of the mid 70s.

This is a worthy collection and obscure curiosity that could lead to revival of forgotten treats from 60s/70s Paraguay; the sons and daughters of the German diaspora that ended up there, sharing an unconscious link to similar pioneering musical innovations back in the Krautrock homeland.












In a different direction entirely, the Sommer imprint revival of the critically well-received but commercially poor Whistling Jigs To The Moon album by Flibbertigibbet looks to place the Celtic-South African troupe in the upper echelons of prog and psych-folk greats.

Formed after the break-up of the earlier cult Irish group Mellow Candle by band members Alison O’Donnell and David Williams, after an unsuccessful 1972 album release for the Deream label – Swaddling Songs despite the attention and band’s reputation, failing to revive the Candle’s fortunes -, the prevailing Flibbertigibbet was born in the immigrant and local communal houses and clubs of the South African folk scene. Leaving the Emerald Isle after that Candle’s light went out for good, O’Donnell and Williams hooked-up in South Africa with ex-pats Barrie Glenn and Jo Dudding to form the earnest, romantically lamentable band of well-travail(ed) musicians.

From initial live performances in a homely community, the obviously gifted and talented group of like-minded folk lovers were soon patronized; their admirer and facilitator, Prof. David Marks soon offering them the help to record and release, what would be, their debut LP. Expanding the ranks further with classical first violinist Francesco Cignoli, jazz bassist Dennis Lalouette, string-bassist Nippy Cripwell, flutist Colin Shapiro and fiddle player Dave Lambert, they recorded an attentive songbook of beautifully lulled traditional folk sagas.

Taking old Irish standards, but also weaving their own deft tapestries, they dance jigs in drunken stupor to the moon cycles and swoon like the French Lieutenant’s Woman, waiting on the smugglers cove for loved-ones to return. They do this with the most understated of lilting charm, evoking the subtlest hues of Fairport Convention prog and the softest of psychedelic rock influences.

The stalwarts of bucolic and coastal folk are all present and correct – from English Oak and seafaring analogies to the protestations of the oppressed working classes -, as Flibbertigibbet travel back and forth across timelines. Special mention must go to O’Donnell’s voice, which is diaphanous and longing, channeling Sandy Denny, Linda Ronstadt and The Poppy Family as she woos and sighs over both the perfectly administered acoustic and electrified backing – itself a mix of the Trees, American country-folk rock, Fotheringay and Fleetwood Mac, but also a faithful interpretation of far older, more bodhran frame drum led, traditional forms too.

Saved hopefully from obscurity and the clutches of record-dealers – the original 1978 album fetching a pretty price online, if you can indeed find a copy – this repackaged appraisal of a folk rarity should be well-received by the folk and head music communities. Beautifully crafted storytelling from a band with much to offer, Whistling Jigs To The Moon is an enjoyable and stirring treat for the soul.




Deep Cut ‘Different Planet’
(Gare du Nord) January 25th 2019




As if Ian Button isn’t busy enough already juggling a multitude of projects, he’s not only the drummer in the London-based Deep Cut band but also facilitating the release of their third LP, Different Planet, through his very own Kentish cottage industry imprint, Gare du Nord (a good time to mention that labels impressive showing in our albums of the year list).

Formed around the dreampop shoegazing indie pop songwriting of the group’s founder, Mat Flint, and Emma Bailey, Deep Cut could be said to appeal to the Gare du Nord label’s penchant for nostalgia. Squeezing plenty of mileage out of The Byrds (8 Miles of it in fact on the track ‘Washed Up’), Lush, My Bloody Valentine, Jesus And Mary Chain, Throwing Muses and Ride, they inhabit another decade – though considering how bloody popular the 80s and Britpop eras both are, they’ve probably hit upon a winning formula.

In a spirograph haze of jingle-jangle paisley hued fuzz, drifting lingering cooing vocals and attitude power pop, the former Revolver frontman and Death In Vegas bassist Mat adds shades of his previous bands sound to the make-up; pitching up with trip-hop indie beats on the baggy-candour ‘Spiraling’, and switching on the Fujiya And Miyagi version of the motorik, on the early pulsing Sheffield electronic ‘Alarm Button’.

Playing with that lush signature of cracking indie pop, Emma (shadowed on backing vocals and harmony throughout by Mat) can at any one time channel Tanya Donelly, Sonya Madan and Miki Berenyi simultaneously. Though as breezy and shrouded in vapours as it is, Emma has a certain swagger and attitude that manages to pierce the daze.

The backing meanwhile shifts between all those already mentioned reference points, but can also throw up a few surprises, especially with vague passing influences such as Cabaret Voltaire, Ringo Deathstarr, Teenage Fanclub, Altered images and the Happy Mondays all swirling around.

A decent sound with plenty of variation, subtitles and energy, Deep Cut refine and breathe life back into the yearning shoegaze and Britpop of another era. With conviction, well-crafted songwriting and a captivating lead singer, they manage to stand apart from their influences just enough to avoid cliché and a reliance on the nostalgic.





Garrett N. ‘Let’s Get Surreal’




Channeled into an eclectically blended opus of a showcase, in a sense a purview of Garrett’s tenure as a composer and sound designer creating incidental music and soundtracks for a litany of American networks, the pun-tended riff entitled Let’s Get Surreal runs through the full gamut of its creator’s skillset and tastes. In the decade since his first and only other album thus far, Instrumentals And Oddities, there’s been a hell of a lot water-under-the-bridge, and Garrett’s album at times seems like one out-of-sync with its time: Leitmotifs and themes, including a growing cacophony of multiple George Bush Juniors reading out his infamous address to a nation speech on the eve of the second Gulf War (overlapping and twisted until the word “terrorism” echoes like a broken mantra), are evoked on the WMD condemnation, undulated by a Kubrickian menacing drone, ‘Saddam/Espace’ – just one example of a subject overtaken by a catalogue of equally destructive and important events; the incessant hunger for stimulation, reaction and validation of 24-hour news feeds quickly replacing world events at such a rate as to make anything longer than a few years back seem ancient history.

The sound quality indicates a talent for production: Garrett N. is attempting to bring hi-fidelity and a verve of polish back to music production; arguably a lost art in so many ways, especially in an era when availability and convenience is valued above audio quality, and when music is accessed, predominantly, through compressed digital streaming platforms on smartphones. If nothing else, Let’s Get Surreal sounds good in its bombast; loud when it needs to be, clean and crisp when more thoughtfully meditative and ambient. It makes a refreshing change to hear it.

The music itself is epically framed, following a concept that errs towards progressive rock and beats opera; there’s even an ‘Overture’ to kick things off, part of a triple suite of tracks that (surreal indeed) morphs Michael Caine’s anecdotes about gay slurs and allusions to a changing musical landscape of 70s Floyd, ethereal synth work, hues of heavy Muse prog guitar gestures, brighter shades of MGMT and psychedelic pop and Todd Rundgren. Continuous with recurring hooks, bridges and fades connecting each track on this hour plus filmic soundtrack, Let’s Get Surreal blends lofty noodling with longing composure as it confidently zaps and fuses the cosmic with Hip-Hop instrumentalism, library music with 80s flange rock, 8-bit robotics with conga funk, and low-riding RNB with the psychedelic.

A curious album from an obviously talented music producer and musician, this ambitious suite does seem like a home-studio project from a bedroom maverick, dressed-up as a resume, yet remains an impressive expansive astral oddity of constantly progressive and twisting musical tastes: An album where nothing, quite literally, is spared!




Singles

Twink ‘Brand New Morning/ Dream Turn into Rainbows’
(Gare du Nord) February 1st 2019




A match made in halcyon nostalgic haven, quintessential English psychedelic journeyman Twink (the nom de plume of former Pretty Things, Pink Fairies, Tomorrow, and the fleeting Stars instigator, Mohammed Abdullah John Adler) breaks bread with Ian Button’s Gare du Nord label’s unofficial house bands, Papernut Cambridge and Picturebox, on his latest bucolic single.

Taking a while to materialize on wax, the Gare du Nord lineup of Button, Robert Rotifer, David Woolf and Robert Halcrow first worked with Twink back in 2017; backing one of the doyens of early psych for a series of ‘rare’ shows, which included a guest slot at Kaleidoscope’s 50th anniversary Tangerine Dream jamboree.

Essentially Twink’s spotlight, the (traditional) A-side, ‘Brand New Morning’, was co-written with Picturebox main man Halcrow. A genital kind of vicarage Baroque-chimed harpsichord period Syd Barrett dream capsule from psychedelic rock’s back pages, this earnest Village Green enchanted ditty breaths in the optimism of a sunny-side-up kind of day. The more interesting companion B-side, ‘Dreams Turn Into Rainbows’, is a flute-y and mellotron dreamy romantic yearned number. Building from folky psychedelics echoes into a diaphanous Moody Blues fantasy, Twink’s repeated sentiment of, “I still dream about you/ But dreams they turn into rainbows”, is carried on the currents and vapours of his backing troupe’s melodious lush lingers.

Ever expanding the catalogue of nostalgic and halcyon age signings, Ian Button’s label dissects the past but lives in the present, whether it’s the 60s, 70s or even 80s (see the label’s Deepcut LP, which also features in this roundup): The metaphors and analogies proving timeless, even if the music isn’t. Twink is an obvious fit and addition to a label so endeared with England’s less celebrated mavericks.

By the time this review reaches you, the limited-to-200-copies vinyl single should be available via the shared Twink Bandcamp page. A digital copy for streamers is also being made available.





Clovvder ‘Traits’
November 13th 2018




Invoked during an ‘astral winter by the seas’ of the Uruguay port city they call home, Montevideo, the Gothic atmospheric conjurers Clovvder and their most recent couplet of eerie and poetically forlorn bewitching drones (Traits) merges the ominous with the ritualistic diaphanous surrealism to unsettling, spiritualist effect.

Channeling the unconventional morality of the celebrated surrealist Uruguayan-born French writer/poet Isidore Lucien Ducasse’s Les Chants de Maldoror, ‘old gods’, magik and hermetic beliefs, the duo’s Tanky and CO3RA personal peer dramatically into the void as they navigate the aloof philosophical quandaries of existence and self: The second of the two tracks, ‘Solipsismo’ can be translated as both ‘alone’ and ‘self’, a prompt in this case to the eternal downer that the ‘self is all that exists’.

Tar black waters, swirls of minimal dark majesty, resignation, and wispy apparitions posing descriptive esoteric longing lyricism (“Black abysses, swirling/I felt born in me”) materialize in waves across both of Traits haunted soundtrack evocations. A sad melancholic beauty and glints of escapism however lift the mood of the drowning-in-the-River-Styx vibe.

Relatively obscure, with only a handful of singles online, Clovvder may well dissipate back into the ether that they appeared from; their non-linear visions and dark arts sorcery poetic minimalism (imbued in part by the genius experimental cinema of Russia’s exalted Andrei Tarkovsky: Scenes from his loose amorphous interconnected autobiographical movie The Mirror are used to accompany ‘Hydrophila’) demand total absorption and the time to take hold.

Difficult to place; neither electronica, field recordings, drones or that dismissive ‘Witch’ prefix trend, Traits is closer to the perimeters of occult soundtrack magic realism poetry and despondent esoteric romanticism.






Words – Dominic Valvona

Playlist: Selected by Dominic Valvona/ Matt Oliver





Priding ourselves on the diverse, pan-global playlists we collate for your aural pleasure and indulgence, the Monolith Cocktail Quarterly Revue series is the eclectic behemoth of them all. With no demarcation of any kind or rules we mix the harrowing and gothic with beckoning polyrhythmic dancefloor screamers, flights of panoramic fantasy with raging protestations, and the most sublime peregrinations with experimental cries from the wilderness.

Everything you find on this playlist has either featured on the site over the last three months or been in our general orbit (the sheer volume of music we get sent means there is inevitably issues of space and time, and so some great tracks just don’t make it; this is our chance to feature those lost tracks).

We’ve also included the previous three playlists. And only leaves me to say on behalf of the Monolith Cocktail, thank you for supporting us during 2018.


Tracks:

Deerhunter  ‘Death in Midsummer’
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets  ‘My Friend’s A Liquid’
Brace! Brace!  ‘Whales’
Slift  ‘Fearless Eye’
Stika Sun  ‘Psychedelic Three’
Jimi Tenor  ‘Walzeth’
Fofoulah ‘Kaddy’
Paula Rae Gibson & Kit Downes  ‘If You Ask Me’
The Alchemist  ‘Mac 10 Wounds (Instrumental)’
François de Roubaix  ‘Amour Sur Les Rails’
Homeboy Sandman & Edan  ‘The Gut’
Thom Yorke  ‘Suspirium’
Open Mike Eagle  ‘Single Ghosts’
Westside Gunn & Benny  ‘B.I.G Luther Freestyle’
Apollo Brown & Joell Ortiz  ‘That Place’
Lyrics Born & Aloe Blacc  ‘Can’t Lose My Joy’
Chuck D  ‘freedBLACK’
Beans with ZVK & Dan Wenniger  ‘The Ugly, The Ugly, And The Ugly’
Unloved  ‘Love’
Marianne Faithfull  ‘They Come At Night’
Ex:Re  ‘I Can’t Keep You’
Masta Ace & Marco Polo ft. Pearl Gates  ‘Still Love Her’
Damu The Fudgemunk  ‘Fire’
MysDiggi  ‘Evil Within’
Bixiga 70  ‘Primeiramente’
The Scorpios  ‘Mashena’
Moulay Ahmed El Hassani  ‘Lklam Lakhar’
The Rebels Of Tijuana  ‘Erotique’
Cappo & Cyrus Malachi  ‘Aqua Lungi’
Annexe The Moon  ‘Full Stop’
Paul Jacobs  ‘Easy (Warm Weather)’
Gloria  ‘Heavy’
Deanna Petcoff  ‘Stress’
David Cronenberg’s Wife  ‘Rules’
Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam  ‘Running From My Ghost’
Insolito UniVerso  ‘Vuelve’
François de Roubaix  ‘Daughters Of Darkness Opening’
Vukovar & Michael Cashmore  ‘Little Gods’
Cousin Silas & The Glove Of Bones  ‘Saturn Incoming Dub’
Qluster  ‘Lindow’
Refree  ‘Tirania’
Society Of The Silver Cross  ‘When You’re Gone’
Steve Gunn  ‘New Moon’
Ben Osborn  ‘Fast Awake’
Panda Bear  ‘Dolphin’
Delicate Steve  ‘O Little Town Of Bethlehem’



Part Three




Part Two




Part One