Sunday, February 17, 2008

Woodland Recordings

The Great Park
Originally uploaded by Southcoasting

A great gig in Brighton featuring three extraordinary songwriters and performers linked through a very impressive new home/hand-made label producing some fantastic limited edition CDs of obscure contemporary folk and blues. Essential stuff.

First up was The Great Park, who is Stephen Burch (right), tonight augmented by Sam Collins of Funes and Mid-West Blues (centre) and Laurence Collyer of the Diamond Family Archive (left). Stephen writes some brilliant gothic folk songs about broken relationships and other things, often in a faux rural setting, and with a subtle but mesmerising sense of melody. The two examples below are my current favourites from his ever-growing cannon.


Next up was Birdengine (above), who is one Lawry Tilbury playing strange ethereal ghostly rural folk tales which combine shear terror with enchantment. An original performer that is pretty hard to classify, there are elements of a Woody Guthrie and an itinerant folk singer, but from an imagination dredged up from somewhere in between the Railway Children and the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

His excellent mini album I Fed Thee Rabbit Water is available now, and a new album is due later this year.

Finally, the extrordinary Men Diamler...

Men Diamler

Men Diamler has an album out called Sea Shanties for the Far Inland, which kind of sums up his style, but then tells you nothing. He has a beautiful voice and sings his simple songs with a raw passion that is quite mesmerising. A performer the like of which is rarely seen, he cannot sit still and will leap into the audience to perform songs. Last night he played with 5 strings on his guitar, until he realised that one of his songs really needed the sixth string and so he stopped, and borrowed someone else's instrument. That kind of sums up the raw childlike innocence, but doesn't quite capture the anger (because he was really so sweet about it).

Looking a bit like Ewan McColl or one of those intense 1950s English folk singers, except that his songs are not political but about dogs and horses and girls. His album is excellent and his performances are manic. Catch him if you can.


For more, go here: Woodland recordings

Saturday, February 16, 2008

X Ray Spirit

I don't normally relish the free CDs I am often sent to review but occasionally you get one that makes you sit up and listen.

X-Ray Spirit by Snake and Jet's Amazing Bullit Band is a CD on crunchy frog from two manic Danes. It's probably the bounciest most exciting collection of accelerated rock and roll since the Hives 'Hate to say I told you so'. From the opening garage riot of 'Ten Cities Beyond' with its beautiful organ driven riff, through 'X-Ray' and its almost child-like punk rock psychedelia and 'Wicky' with its faux-bluesy snippets, this is an album that is never dull from its top gear opening to its somewhat odd but settling bar-room closing final track. This is old-school 60s-style garage punk but contemporary, exciting.

Hard to imagine it's just two people, Thor Rasmussen and Thomas Teilmann Frederiksen , who together are Snake and Jet. They're big in Denmark (apparently) and this is their debut album. It was released this week in middle Europe, and it'll be out in the US at the end of March. But for now...