“We’re All Fronds on This Bus”: indeed, live at Oxford’s storied Jericho Tavern, the wheels went ‘round and ‘round until the ecstatic punters were ready to be wheeled out themselves. Below, watch clips of “Lead On” and “Olde Worlde” (pay attention to the extended spoken intro for the latter, incidentally).
BY NIC LINTON
Last Thursday I had the rare opportunity to catch up with Nick Saloman and his band of merry men, at the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. The venue, which I could have easily mistaken for a broom cupboard, turned out to be the perfect choice for an intimate evening in with The Bevis Frond.
It was a no-nonsense affair complete with something old, something new, and plenty of psychedelic guitar heroics. No introductions were necessary, the raw energy of the music spoke for itself. Great to see such a quintessentially English act previously described as unsung heroes, literally singing their hearts out to such a warm reception.
It should come as no surprise to even the casual visitor of this site, that GospelbeacH is a Blurt favorite. So much so that many of you know to come here for regular song premieres from the band – late last year we offered up a track from their 2018 gem Another Winter Alive, for example. And their 2017 offering wound up on many of our contributors’ best-of releases for that year, with editor Mills observing, “The band’s debut album, 2015’s Pacific Surf Line, wasn’t shy about its Cali worship; two of GospelbeacH founder Brent Rademaker’s other groups, psychedelic warriors The Tyde and mystic Americana wranglers Beachwood Sparks, have shared similar sentiments. But Another Summer of Love is a remarkable achievement unto itself.”
We don’t like to disappoint, (the feckless leaders in D.C. have that role handled) so here’s a first listen of the song “Let It Burn,” the title track off the band’s soon to be released new LP. The song boasts a cameo by the brilliant, late Neal Casal who passed away just weeks ago.
“‘Let It Burn’ became a secret little mantra in my head while dealing with some heavy changes in my life, mainly loss. Letting go wasn’t good enough I had to burn those negative feelings before they killed me,” said singer-songwriter-guitarist Brent Rademaker. “Trevor [Beld Jimenez] and I came up with some verses to my open C-minor tuning and we cut it live with a cool flat dry 1970s production by Jonny Niemann. The great Nelson Bragg orchestrated the perfect So-Cal harmonies.
“Little did I know I would need to call on that mantra again, when just months after finishing the album we would lose our dear brother Neal Casal. Neal’s otherworldly guitar playing weaves this whole song perfectly together and the outro solo that closes the whole album says more to me than any lyric we could’ve written. Neal made GospelbeacH legit, when we told him we were making a “rock” record he just shook his hand and shushed me up, plugged in and played his guitar…no second takes.” Hesaid, “Just let it burn.”
GospelbeacH’s Let It Burnwill be available October 4th on Limited Edition Colored Vinyl (grab it here, as I did – Ed. Mills) CD, digital and streaming formats via Alive Naturalsound Records.
Cue up sound of palm vigorously slapping forehead. It is a poorly-kept secret that we music writers sometimes let our mail tubs get to the point of overflowing before we finally get around to opening the packages – which, typically, are overflowing with music, much (most) of it dreck, but once in awhile, utterly captivating.
Such is the case with Mercvrial – which I assume is pronounced “mercurial” – and their 5-song mini-album The Stars, Like Dust, which just this week I belatedly discovered in the aforementioned mailtub. They’ve been described, variously, as dreampop, neopsychedelia, and shoegaze, compared to Flying Nun- and Creation-era artists as well as our own vaunted Paisley Underground scene here in the States. So be it.
But why not simply check ’em out, below – our brothers over at The Big Takeover premiered a couple of tracks earlier in the summer, and they basically do the talking for the band that you need to hear. If you like what you hear, reach out to the band at the above link or via email (mercvrialmx[at]yahoo[dot]com) and demand more. I know I plan to. (And to David Mercvrial – thanks for reaching out to me in the first place. Looking forward to hearing you guys in the future.)
Way back in 2013 we enthusiastically covered NC-by-way-of-Arizona songwriter Tracy Shedd, who had just released her remarkable album Arizona. (Additionally, check out a review of it here.)
Shedd’s new one, The Carolinas, her sixth, has now officially dropped via NC’s Fort Lowell Records as of yesterday, Sept. 20, and it a dreampop delight. (Yes, folks, it’ll be available on vinyl as well courtesy Science Project Records.) I’ll save the review-style verbiage for later, but here are a few salient details the label has kindly supplied… First, though a couple of tunes… aw hell, let’s make it three tunes… for your sonic edification:
After having Steve Shelley of Sonic Youth sit in on drums for Tracy Shedd during a US tour, Shedd began writing songs for The Carolinas in her new home of North Carolina; combining her indie rock roots of 20-years with recent electronic experience from Band & The Beat. The Carolinas is Shedd’s most playful, yet proficient, album to date, celebrated by the inaugural release of “Kissing and Romancing”: the superfun and fuzzy shoegaze single with its supercute and funny stop-motion video – followed by the second single “Holding On”: a classic indie pop dance hit in the making, accompanied by an engaging performance video.
Looking forward to some live dates from Shedd? Us too, no kidding!
Fire Records band Hater, hailing from Malmö, Sweden, rode into town last night (September 19), for a two-night stand at Berlin here in New York City. With their great 7” “Four Tries Down / It’s a Mess” fresh off the presses, the band sounded like a more sedate Bettie Serveert, mixed with early-era Lush. There was one song where one of the guitarist’s pedal twiddling took on a Cocteau Twins-like smear that sounded awesome.
Ultimately, I think the show suffered because the mix on the PA was poor. Often, singer Caroline Landahl’s beautiful voice would be muffled and/or clipped at the high end. Hopefully, for the second night, they’ll get this right. That said, I was impressed by the band’s music and the feeling these songs evoked. This is definitely a band I’ll be looking to hear more from in the future.
Until then, check out my video and stills from last night’s show down below and also don’t forget to check out Haters’ latest single at their Bandcamp page: https://haterfire.bandcamp.com.