A drop of “Summer Rain” in a Latino Paradise

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LE PARODY and GIZMO VARILLAS – Summer Rain

Oh man, why did I never learn Latin Dance? There’s a Rumba screaming to get out every time I play the Spanish sizzler, “Summer Rain” by the hugely talented Gizmo Varillas (No! He is not a gremlin). The song oozes Latino sex appeal – his voice alone is swoon inducing – along with some technically brilliant Flamenco style guitar playing.

Gizmo duets with fellow Spaniard, Le Parody, who is the perfect vocal counterpoint. They actually co-wrote this soundtrack of “dreamy dark tropical vibes.” Mmm … musical Malibu cocktail.

“Summer Rain” has an hypnotic beat and grrrreat rhythm, which will definitely get you sashaying around the house. It’s distinct magnetic melody, layered over a gorgeous mille feuille of harmonies, draws you in, whilst the succulent Spanish guitar, lures you away to foreign climes: to long nights of gentle warm breezes, the sound of laughter and the tide slowly coming in…..Now where did I put that bottle of Malibu?

“Summer Rain” is available now via Bandcamp (where the groovy cover artwork by Murnau Den Linden can also be purchased – https://newhispanicmusic.bandcamp.com/releases.)

You can find out more about both Le Parody and Gizmo via their Facebook pages….

https://www.facebook.com/leparody?fref=ts

http://www.facebook.com/GizmoVarillas?

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Ne’er a tizzy with Kizzy … The playful delights of “Pili Pala”

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If young Welsh/Bajan singer-songwriter Kizzy Crawford can pen a track like “Pili Pala” at 18, then her future is very bright indeed.   She says of her creations … “My songs reflect me” … and “my many states of mind”. Kizzy was obviously in a pretty blissful SOM when she penned this piece of musical angel delight. “Pili Pala” is like being transported aloft on the highest cloud, dancing through a gloriously colourful flower filled meadow, and then being showered in sparkles.

Kizzy’s voice is soft but clear with a quirkiness that lends itself well to the poppy bohemianism of “Pili Pala”. #VocalElation.

This song has every beat, intonation and musical sequence known to happiness. It is a beautiful blend of acoustic guitar, sparkling synths and lush harmonies, zanily choreographed, wonderfully produced, and topped off with a light sprinkling of fairy dust.

“Pili Pala” will be released as a single on August 3rd.

Find out more about Kizzy and her music on her website – http://www.kizzymerielcrawford.com/

You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter here

https://www.facebook.com/kizzymerielcrawford

There’s no such thing as Bad Advertising … but False Advertising ?? “I Don’t Know” about that!!

False Advertising

“You’re joke’s on me,

My eye’s on you,

I’ll have to sink down to your

level” …

Now for some Mancunian musical mayhem, or in the words of Manchester band False Advertising “Double-sided noise-pop” Well I never!

False Advertising are a bit like a ‘Hole + Suede-on-speed’ cocktail muddled with The Pixies, and, “I Don’t Know” is a canny mix of the lot. There’s just the right amount of the prerequisite “noise” for the grunge camp, but it’s blended with suitable quantities of user-friendly melody, controlled vocals, well synced harmonies, and pretty spot on guitar playing and drumming, (the staccato beat of which I particularly like), for them to appeal to a broader audience!

What’s really interesting about this trio, is that they switch lead vocal duties, which given that they are girl/boy should make for some really cool contrasts track-wise on their forthcoming debut album due out 4th September, which astonishingly not only have they self-recorded, they have also self-produced.

Now if that isn’t the confidence of youth……

You can find out more information about False Advertising and their music at their website – http://www.falseadvertising.co/

Follow them on Facebook & Twitter here

https://www.facebook.com/falseadv

 

Get your sox off….Hitting the sand with criminal intent (of the Dutch kind) #DCR

Sox

DUTCH CRIMINAL RECORD – “Socks and Sandals”

Don’t you just love this cheeky little excerpt lifted from the DCR website “About” page.

“How to describe Dutch Criminal Record?

Well…in effect we consist of one mad drummer who’s beats are funkier than James Brown, and are so syncopated they end up on the beat again. This man is simply know as Wibs (The Great?).  Then there’s the tall dark and annoyingly handsome Rio, who’s bass is almost as powerful as his pull on every girls heart… ever.  Then there’s the band pet, our chief weirdo Sam (or Shmee), whose guitar produces sparkling sweet lead tones, and gravely hair raising vocals.  And then, we have Joe, the all round legend and musical genius.”

Dutch Crims

“Indie Surf 4 piece band from the South of England, all demos recorded in home studio le Boudoir”.

These gems, together with the song title “Socks & Sandals” (which to me denotes men-beach-white legs-socks-jesus sandals) say it all – sense of humour, fun and more than anything else, Summer.

Yes indeed, the Dutch Crims (think indie Fun Lovin’) have produced a bona fide nightclub dancefloor filler and surefire happiness inducing Summer Anthem.

Zip zippy guitars jig jag across razor sharp, bullet fast drumming, subtly underpinned by cool-dude basslines, all of which are topped off by light hearted but tight vocals.

This song is pure sonic sherbet and oh boy, can you feel the fizz tickle.

DCR remind me a bit of the Housemartins – everyone’s go-to feel good, slightly cookie, off centre “jangle-pop” band of the mid-80s. Hopefully, they’ll be as successful.

Socks and Sandals is available now via iTunes & the Dutch Criminal Record EP is free to stream on Spotify.

Further information about the band can be found via their official website – http://www.dutchcriminalrecord.co.uk/

Sox I Tunes

“No time for backward glances” Bo Walton takes a chance to makes his Dreams come true

Bo Walton

“Love is cruel, you’ve been hurt,

Had your heart kicked around, and trampled in the dirt”

Bo Walton was born in Marden, Herts, but sounds as if he came in on the last flight from Tennessee. He is one of a new coterie of rockabilly, cum country and western (21st c style) singers that include the likes of Imelda May and Nathan Carter, who have reignited “yeehaw” fever in both the UK&I.

Part Elvis, part Garth Brooks, this man has put the tap back in toe and the stomp back into foot.

“Dream Again” is a masterclass in how to DO rockabilly. The sweetest country guitar twangs and slides over wonderfully understated accordion playing, all glued together by rock steady up tempo swing drumming. Musically alone this song would fill a dance floor in a heartbeat, but when you add in what is one of the best goddamn vocals I’ve heard this side of the Atlantic, you know you’re gonna have one serious Gene Vincent-like Blue Jean bop experience. Definitely one for the jive bunnies….in fact, for anyone with a pulse!

You can listen to Bo Walton’s “Dream Again” here on SoundCloud

“Dream Again” is available to download via Amazon and iTunes

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Dream-Again-Bo-Walton/dp/B010GTV51C/ref=sr_1_1?s=dmusic&ie=UTF8&qid=1436603737&sr=1-1&keywords=Bo+Walton

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/dream-again-single/id1011855860

“Can’t Buy Love, Son” … Best Boy Grip’s heartbreakingly poignant new single

Best Boy Grip

“They’re going to love you last of all”…

Best Boy Grip is a four-piece from Derry currently running a very successful Pledge Music campaign to fund their as yet untitled debut album. If streamed tracks like “Sharks” and this divine piece of musical gorgeousness “Can’t Buy Love, Son”, are anything to go by, it is destined for both commercial and critical success.

Whilst Eoin O’Callaghan’s vocal is truthful to the lyric, the technical talents of Liam Craig on piano, Jay Dickson on bass and Shane Mc Caul on drums, are allowed run riot in this opus of tidal forces.

The hypnotic, looping piano chords are like musical waves rolling over the soul, building up to & melding with a booming synth crescendo, crashing off aural rocks. This song, like a sonic tide, flows and swirls, reaching a high at which point the rhythm section fully kicks in. Then, at once, it softens, recedes and ebbs away, until it closes with a fading lone vocal. #meltingheart.

Expect to hear a lot more from and about these guys come album launch on 7th September.

You can listen to “Can’t Buy Love, Son” here via SoundCloud or watch the video via YouTube

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Find out more about Best Boy Grip on their official website – http://www.bestboygrip.co.uk/

“There my promise is” … a reflection on ‘Westward Bound’ by Mark Hollis

Fiddling with his fingers

Normally, we would position the lyrics of our chosen song at the tail-end of the blog, but today, we’re turning that MO around by making them the entrée and focus of this piece.

“Westward Bound” is the sixth song out of the 9-track offering that is Mark Hollis’ 1998 eponymous, and alas, only solo album.  Often overlooked in favour of the quirkier, more challenging wood & brass arrangement of “A Life” or the pianissimo perfection of “The colour of spring”, this is a piece of quiet sublimity, an exercise in space and tonality.  It is an Hollis master class in hitting the vocal at just the right moment against the under-stated musical backdrop of Dominic Miller’s exquisite guitar playing.

Opaline

“WESTWARD BOUND”  – (from the album “MARK HOLLIS”, FEB 1998, POLYDOR)

“Opaline through her hair
Born on an April tide
Glowing in the wonder of our first child

There my promise is

A spur
A rein

The world upon my back
The pressure upon this earth

Drought’s heir

Sown my money
Sold my shirt
Sown my money

Migrate
Job on the threshing line
Mute I walk
Idle ground
Westward bound”

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Lyrics: Mark David Hollis.
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The song opens with the madonna like image of a young woman, flush with maternal awe, cradling her infant, combs of milk-glass decorating her hair.  The moon-white gems add to the image of birth, purity and innocence.
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“Born on an April tide” – a nod to his wife, born in April, who has been alluded to in previous Hollis compositions.  What would be interesting to know is when exactly this song was written??  Hollis’ first child was born in 1987, so was this song penned when the couple were fresh in the after-glow of birth, or was it written retrospectively, drawing from past first hand experiences.
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“There my promise is”
His promise as a husband, his promise as a father; to protect, to nourish, to provide for…..is both “a spur” to push him on, and “a rein” keeping him in check; both motivator and deterrent.  He has committed to his family, now he must honour and fulfil.
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“The world upon my back
The pressure upon this earth

Drought’s heir

Sown my money
Sold my shirt
Sown my money”

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The weight of this burden lies heavily on him, and, on the land, which must bear the fruit of his labour so as to provide for his family.  He sold the shirt off his back so to speak, to raise enough money to buy seed to plant, but the crop has failed to yield, due to drought.
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Crops failed, money gone, what choice is there for this man? …
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“Migrate
Job on the threshing line
Mute I walk
Idle ground
Westward bound”.

… Little choice but to leave his family and the ‘idle ground’ behind.  To go away to find work ‘on the threshing line’ – hard labour, and, a world away from the homely image of the farmer working his small holding.  He walks in silence, “Westward bound” leaving behind what he loves.  It is at once a sad and lonely image, but yet one which shows strength, determination, and courage.  This man’s actions underline his commitment to honour the promise he made, but are above all, a confirmation of the depth of his devotion and love, as both a husband and a father.
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” … at times, the voice is little more than a thin parting of the air in the studio; the words are stretched out, torn apart, boiled down to consonant acoustics.” ***
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Hollis on piano
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The “Mark Hollis” album is another stage (I am loathe to use the word final) in the musical development of this lyrical and musical genius.  Everything about the process of recording the album underpins Hollis’ desire to create as natural a sound as possible.  There is no sound for sound’s sake.  If anything, it is the opposite.  Music filled with deliberately long voids, allowing the chords to breathe, the notes to slowly exhale, sustaining the sound of the key, squeezing the last out of the vibration.
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The first sound you hear on this track is not music, it is of Mark Hollis breathing – a long, deep, inhale, exhale.

” … the thing about that is … everything’s just recorded off this pair of mics at the front, vocally as well … you’ve got the whole geography of sound within which all the instruments exist … If you listen hard enough, you can actually hear where my head’s moving in position as I’m singing. Because it does exist in a real room space.” ***

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This is exactly what Hollis wanted – unadulterated, raw sound.  The feeling that the musician is so close to you, he could almost be in the room beside you.  You can hear him move, hear him breathe, but yet the vocal, so quiet, so frangible, so fragile.

“… it is extremely quietly recorded ..(it) is without doubt the quietest I’ve ever done a vocal. I could barely even get a sound to come out. I really like instruments hit at low level, and like I say, given the point that everything is playing at that level, you’ve got to be in sympathy with it.” ***  And, the instrumental sound must be in sympathy with the delicate vocal, which could only be achieved by using acoustic instruments.  Anything electronic would have overpowered the vocal timbre and sentiment, although the choice of acoustic was not just down to sonic suitability, there was also the desire to create music that couldn’t be dated, that wouldn’t age.

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 “The minute you work with just acoustic instruments, by virtue of the fact that they’ve already existed for hundreds of years, they can’t date.” ***

 

Wimb Common

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Hollis held firm to the sentiments and values he had established and maintained during the processes of recording “Spirit of Eden” and “Laughing Stock” – attitude over aptitude, personality over persona.  Work with a group of independent musicians, give them the freedom to be creative, to play as comes naturally to them, and then like a patchwork quilt, stitch all the pieces together, to form a coherently produced piece of lovingly crafted individual elements.

“The idea was to have carefully worked-out structures, within which the musicians would have a lot of freedom. I’d just say to them, okay, we’re here , we want to get there – now let’s play. And I wanted there to be no more than four or five things happening at any one time. Over the course of the record, there are probably 20 musicians involved, but I wanted it to feel like a small combo from start to finish.”

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Such deeply thought out processes often yield the most effortless, natural-sounding, results, complex in their simplicity.

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We will leave you now with the words of Mark Hollis
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“There are ways of listening rather than just hearing, if you’re prepared to make the effort.” 
And now, please DO make the effort to listen to, rather than hear, this achingly beautiful song.
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Composed & Arranged by: Mark Hollis and Dominic Miller

*** Excerpts taken from a 1998 interview with Mark Hollis, by Rob Young for The Wire magazine.