News: Japan – Quiet Life reissue

13 01 2021

In March 2021 BMG / Warner will reissue Japan‘s Quiet Life album from 1980, in several formats, the highlight of which is the deluxe 1LP/3CD edition. The deluxe edition features a 2020 Abbey Road half-speed remaster of the original album, alt mixes, b-sides, singles, rarities and live material.

The 3CD/1LP version comes in and out of stock on Amazon, so keep an eye on the site. It is available from other retailers, including Burning Shed (link below).

Buy the Quiet Life – 3CD+LP deluxe box set on Amazon

Buy the Quiet Life (remastered) 1 CD version on Amazon

Buy Quiet Life on the Burning Shed Japan store

CD1 – QUIET LIFE

  1. Quiet Life (2020 Remaster)
  2. Fall In Love With Me (2020 Remaster)
  3. Despair (2020 Remaster)
  4. In Vogue (2020 Remaster)
  5. Halloween (2020 Remaster)
  6. All Tomorrows Parties (2020 Remaster)
  7. Alien (2020 Remaster)
  8. The Other Side of Life (2020 Remaster)

CD2 – A QUIETER LIFE: ALTERNATIVE MIXES & RARITIES

  1. European Son (Steve Nye 7” Remix 1982)
  2. Life In Tokyo (Steve Nye 7” Special Remix 1982)
  3. Quiet Life (Original German 7” Mix 1980)
  4. I Second That Emotion (Steve Nye 7” Remix 1982)
  5. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Steve Nye 7” Remix Version 1983)
  6. European Son (John Punter 12” Mix 1980)
  7. Life In Tokyo (Steve Nye 12” Special Remix Version 1982)
  8. I Second That Emotion (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1982)
  9. All Tomorrow’s Parties (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1983)
  10. European Son (Steve Nye 12” Remix Version 1982)
  11. Quiet Life (Japanese 7” Mix 1980) [18/01/21]
  12. A Foreign Place
  13. All Tomorrow’s Parties (John Punter 7” Mix 1979)
  14. Life In Tokyo (Theme Giorgio Moroder Version 1979) [05/03/21]
  15. Deviation (Live In Japan)
  16. Obscure Alternatives (Live In Japan)
  17. In Vogue (Live In Japan)
  18. Sometimes I Feel So Low (Live In Japan)

CD3 – LIVE AT THE BUDOKAN 27/03/1980

  1. Intro
  2. Alien
  3. …Rhodesia
  4. Quiet Life
  5. Fall In Love With Me
  6. Deviation
  7. All Tomorrow’s Parties
  8. Obscure Alternatives
  9. In Vogue
  10. Life In Tokyo
  11. Halloween
  12. Sometimes I Feel So Low
  13. Communist China
  14. Adolescent Sex
  15. I Second That Emotion
  16. Automatic Gun

Vinyl QUIET LIFE

  1. Quiet Life (2020 Remaster)
  2. Fall In Love With Me (2020 Remaster)
  3. Despair (2020 Remaster)
  4. In Vogue (2020 Remaster)
  5. Halloween (2020 Remaster)
  6. All Tomorrows Parties (2020 Remaster)
  7. Alien (2020 Remaster)
  8. The Other Side of Life (2020 Remaster)




Cobalt Chapel – Orange Synthetic album review

30 11 2020

Yorkshire psychedelic duo Cobalt Chapel (Cecilia Fage from Matt Berry & The Maypoles & Jarrod Gosling from I Monster) are releasing their new album Orange Synthetic on 29th Jan 2021.

Orange Synthetic is the second full studio album from the duo, following on from their debut and its companion album, Variants.

Orange Synthetic is music grounded in the Yorkshire earth: its people, the surrounding nature, landscape, and its mythology, from the distant past to modern life. The story of the Krumlin Festival captures something about this island in its disaster – how you can start out with a dream and end up wrapped in a survival blanket, suffering from exposure, on a cold, wet Pennine hillside. It’s an image which reflects the lost, end-of-days feeling of where we’re at now.” (Cecilia Fage & Jarrod Gosling)

The album opens with In Company, a dark tale inspired by the 80s Neil Jordan gothic fantasy film The Company of Wolves and the story of the writer Angela Carter and her wartime experiences.

Organs fizzle and swirl over a rolling drum pattern and layers of lead and background vocals, setting the scene for the whole album. This is the duo at their most commercial, with a chorus that stays with you long after the song has ended.

The Sequel explores the creative process of writing and connecting with an audience. I could imagine this song being used as an alternative theme tune for Tales of the Unexpected. Vinyl crackles and guitar lines buried deep within the mix see the song out, as Message To rushes in. The pace is increased a little for this song of escape.

“I’ll be your hostage”

I love the psychedelic twists and turns in the arrangement, especially the heavily processed lo-fi loops that weave their way in and out of the stereo field.

A Father’s Lament tells of a family who have lost all their children, as if cursed. The bass and drums drive the song, as it evolves and mutates throughout its fairly short life. This is one of the album’s most engaging performances from vocalist Cecilia Fage.

Our Angel Polygon has a crisp, sharp arrangement and was inspired by RAF Fylingdales on the North Yorkshire Moors, and its tales of listening in to Cold War communications. The chorus of Our Angel Polygon is “We are watching”, which is a translation of the RAF Stations motto “Vigilamus”.

The versions of In Company and Our Angel Polygon on the album are the full takes, not the edits released as digital singles earlier in 2020.

Cry A Spiral is underpinned by a soft bossa nova beat, before giving way to deep bass and frenetic drums. One of the more avant-garde pieces on the album, Cry A Spiral harks back to the sound and style of the first album.

It’s The End, The End is a lively musical bazaar stuffed to the brim with discordant, acid keyboard washes and choral vocals. As soon as you get comfortable with the arrangement, it shape-shifts into something even more obtuse, and is a fitting accompaniment to the apocalyptic lyrical content.

Jarrod’s vintage keyboards take centre stage on Pretty Mire, Be My Friend with its extended instrumental section that propel the song to its delightful finish, as guitar and keyboards get caught in a duel to the death.

The twisted folklore that ran through the veins of the debut album from Cobalt Chapel returns on E.B. Another fine vocal performance from Cecilia Fage, that propels you down a time tunnel to a long-lost era. This is pure escapism, and highlights the power of good music to take you away from your stresses and worries, and transport you to another world, even if its just for 40 minutes or so. And how we need that, in this of all years.

The album ends with its title track, the longest piece on the album, and an early favourite for me. Telling the story of an infamous music festival from 1970, that was left in ruins due to the extreme Pennine weather.

“How does it feel, disappointment”

The powerful insistent drums and infectious (sorry to be so 2020) guitar lines jostle for your attention with keyboard riffs that build and give a feeling of stormy weather wreaking havoc upon those caught in the open, with no shelter within reach.

Orange Synthetic is an altogether more consistent release than Cobalt Chapel’s debut, and holds together so well as a complete album. The psychedelia that runs through the duo’s music remains, but with an increased emphasis on melodies that seep into your heart.

If you ever find yourself lost on the North York Moors, Orange Synthetic will be your company until your rescue surely arrives. Just save some battery life to call for help.

Pre-order Cobalt Chapel – Orange Synthetic from Amazon

Pre-order Cobalt Chapel – Orange Synthetic (orange vinyl) from the official store

In Company
The Sequel
Message To
A Father’s Lament
Our Angel Polygon
Cry A Spiral
It’s The End, The End
Pretty Mire, Be My Friend
E.B.
Orange Synthetic

Words and Music by Cecilia Fage & Jarrod Gosling.
Cecilia Fage: Vocals, choral arrangements, recorders, clarinets.
Jarrod Gosling: Organs, Mellotron, electric pianos, tone generator, effects, drums, percussion, guitars, bass, tape loops, glockenspiel, flute.
Nick Gosling: Guitars





Iamthemorning – Counting The Ghosts EP review

29 11 2020

Following the success of their most recent studio album The Bell in 2019, Iamthemorning are self-releasing a new EP Counting The Ghosts on 4th December 2020.

Consisting of four tracks and recorded in isolation in the UK, Russia and Canada, Counting The Ghosts features two new original songs from the duo of Marjana Semkina and Gleb Kolyadin, alongside two traditional Christmas choir pieces that have been reimagined by the band.

The EP is perfect for this time of year. Evoking the magic of winter from times long past, I wonder as I wander is a beautiful, dark choral piece, based on an arrangement by John Rutter. A minimal string backing, with reverb-drenched bells and moving vocals from Marjana would make the perfect backing for a BBC Ghost Stories For Christmas episode, if you are looking for inspiration TV producers!

I wonder as I wander offers an intensely emotional listening experience. The direct and simple arrangement makes this a timeless piece of music, that for me sits amongst the finest in the duo’s catalogue.

Cradle Song is a newly written, original Iamthemorning song. Stripped back, with just vocals, keyboards and subtle dual guitar accompaniment, the song builds slowly, and then fades to a misty soundscape. The attention to detail in the gentle performances gives Cradle Song a magical power to hit you hard as the bass notes summon the beautiful, slowly decaying end section.

Counting the Ghosts is the final original Iamthemorning song on the EP. A commentary on 2020, surely the worst year most of us have lived through, the song wisely focuses’ on the human cost and emotions of a bleak 12 months.

I love the arrangement, which reminds me a little (particularly the fine fretless & double bass and Gleb’s piano work) of Never For Ever period Kate Bush. Counting the Ghosts has one of my favourite vocal performances, full of well harnessed restraint, from Marjana. The song is a perfect example of drawing on the past to build something new for the future.

“This year is ending but nothing feels right,
we have come a full circle while burning alive”

The EP ends with Veni Veni Emmanuel, a 12th century hymn that dials up the reverb to take us back to a feeling of a mist-fuelled winter and a nostalgic Victorian Christmas, full of fading memories and lonely ghosts. This is a song that would be so powerful heard in a live setting when this dreadful health emergency is over. Nothing beats the raw emotion of hearing choral music live, so I hope we get the chance to hear these songs performed in a year or so.

Counting The Ghosts is an essential purchase for fans of the duo, and will make a fine addition to any seasonal / winter playlists that you put together. I will take great pleasure in playing these four songs every winter, for many years to come.

Buy the physical EP or the download version from the Iamthemorning Bandcamp site, and support Marjana and Gleb. Now more than ever before, musicians need us to support their art and creativity where we can. Here’s to a better 2021 for everyone.

  1. I wonder as I wander
  2. Cradle Song
  3. Counting the Ghosts
  4. Veni Veni Emmanuel

Gleb Kolyadin – piano, synths, guitar on 2
Marjana Semkina – vocals, backing vocals, guitar on 2
Vlad Avy – guitar (2, 3)
Zoltan Renaldi – fretless bass, double bass (3)
Mr Konin – marimba (3)

Buy the EP from the Iamthemorning Bandcamp site





Tunng – Tunng Presents…Dead Club album review

15 11 2020

An album about death, dying and grief in 2020? I’m not sure I can listen to that was my initial reaction, but as soon as I read that the album was inspired by Max Porter’s novel Grief Is the Thing With Feathers (I saw Enda Walsh’s mind-blowing adaptation at The Barbican, starring Cillian Murphy in 2019) I dived in headfirst and what an uplifting experience this turned out to be.

Tunng’s Good Arrows was one of my favourite albums of 2007, but this new release takes the band’s sound to another level. For a start, the instrumentation is less electronic, glitchy and is so much more organic and natural. There is space for the music, and lyrics, to breathe in these arrangements. Opening with Eating the Dead, based on the Wari indigenous people of Brazil who used to, well, you have read the title. The song is heart-beat paced, and talks of devouring the memories of the person who has recently passed. Like the majority of the album, the song is incredibly moving, because of, not despite of, its unsettling subject matter.

“Lay you on my kitchen table
Cut you open tenderly
Eat your heart and eyes and mouth
Every word you spoke to me”

The pure, infectious pop of Death Is the New Sex hides the dark message in the lyrics.

“Death is the new Sex
Coming soon to fuck us all”

SDC (aka Swedish death cleaning) is the lyric that hit me hardest, for very personal reasons. SDC is a song about the process of organizing and de-cluttering your belongings before you die, so those left behind don’t have to do this heart-breaking task. Deciding what remnants of someone’s recently ended life gets thrown in the bin or kept within the family as a keep-sake is a harder task than you might first imagine. Something that might have been intensely personal and precious to the person who has passed could be seen as something to be tossed away, as simply junk. That faded picture, or creased and barely legible hand-written letter could contain so much of the person, their hopes and dreams and if not cherished, could be lost forever to landfill.

Three Birds features a delicious bass-line, underpinning a gentle percussion free arrangement. A Million Colours is a simple, Love Cats like song that builds as layers of guitar and strings are dropped onto the topic of not being able to comprehend the impending loss of a loved one.

“You, I can’t quite imagine you gone
You a million bright colours all strewn about”

Carry You and The Last Day touch on the memories that remain after we have gone and what physically happens to us after the process of dying, along with the need for us all to live in the now, living our lives as fully as we can. This film only plays once.

The arrangement on Tsunami is one of my favourites on the album. A decaying note under a simple piano line and lead vocal slowly builds like the incoming deadly wave, getting closer and closer. The band leave us with just the vocal line that soon becomes isolated, stranded and alone in a silent sea. Such a thoughtful and powerful piece of music.

Scared To Death is one of the jewels on this album, featuring luscious strings and feeling like a classic album track from the mid-70s.

“You’re so scared to be what you’re not yet
Hoping love is its own reward”

Derren Brown features on the intro to Fatally Human, another album highlight due to the strong production and string arrangement. I love how disembodied voices float over the slowly departing musical track, as silence finally reigns over all.

The genesis of Dead Club, Grief Is the Thing With Feathers, rounds off the final quarter of the album with two tracks written and recorded in collaboration with its author Max Porter. No punches are pulled on Man, and the album’s final track, its companion piece, Woman. It might be uncomfortable at times, but there is a searing honesty that the subject matter demands, throughout these two tracks and the album as a whole.

If you want more than just escapism in your music, and appreciate honesty, beauty and a little dark humour, then please give this album by Tunng a listen. Prepare to be moved.

Buy Tunng Presents…Dead Club from Amazon

Eating the Dead 07:14
Death is the New Sex 04:14
SDC 05:38
Three Birds 03:59
A Million Colours 05:41
Carry You 04:53
The Last Day 05:32
Tsunami 03:11
Man 03:32
Scared To Death 04:53
Fatally Human 06:20
Woman 04:22





Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet deluxe edition review

12 11 2020

Cherry Red Records are releasing a remastered and expanded deluxe version of Toyah’s debut album Sheep Farming In Barnet as the first release of a reissue programme of Toyah’s entire Safari Records catalogue. The 2CD/1DVD set is released on 4 December 2020, with a limited edition white vinyl version of the main album also released on the same day.

The main album has been given a quality remaster by Nick Watson. Key tracks such as Neon Womb, Victims Of The Riddle, Danced and Race Through Space sound crisper and clearer than the previous CD release, and if you are a fan of this album, you will love this 2020 remaster.

The album is expanded with the single tracks Bird In Flight & Tribal Look, plus rare / unreleased recordings, the highlights of which are the almost hard-rock Gaoler, an early version of The Blue Meaning‘s Love Me and four tracks from the BBC drama Shoestring – live in the studio recordings of Our Movie, Waiting, Neon Womb and an electrifying version of Danced.

The second disc is dedicated to rare and archive material, including many early demos. Whilst the demos are not of the same high quality as the main album, they give a unique insight into the band’s development. Close Encounters (Demo) would later become Danced and some of Watch Me Sane‘s lyrics ended up on Waiting.

My favourite track from the demos is Problem Child, featuring an expansive arrangement, veering from the pop / new-wave sound of the time to a lovely almost progressive outro.

The alternative mixes include a version of Neon Womb with no saxophone (I’m so used to the sax version, this take jars a little for me), and a less produced, more live sounding alt mix of Our Movie.

My favourite alt version on this disc is Waiting (Alternate Vocal Mix), I’ve always loved the bubbling synth lines underpinning the deep bass line on this track, and Waiting also has one of my favourite Toyah vocals. This alt mix goes on a little longer than the album version, with no fade out.

The final disc is a DVD featuring two 2020 interviews with Toyah Willcox (The Story Behind The Album and Track-By-Track Album Commentary), a 1979 What’s On interview plus TV appearances from 1979 and 1980 (including The Old Grey Whistle Test) and a 2020 acoustic Session featuring performances of Neon Womb, Computer & Bird In Flight featuring Toyah Willcox (vocals) & Nigel Clark (guitar). Note: the DVD’s visual content & the remastered vinyl was not provided for this review.

The sleeve notes for the 2 CD/ 1 DVD version feature a scene-setting intro from Toyah Willcox and August 2020 notes from Craig Astley with input from former band-member & co-writer/guitarist Joel Bogen, along with lots of band pictures from the era making this the definitive version of Sheep Farming In Barnet.

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: 2CD/1DVD Deluxe Digipak from Amazon

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: Limited Edition White Vinyl 11 track LP

Disc One:

  1. Neon Womb
  2. Indecision
  3. Waiting
  4. Computer
  5. Victims Of The Riddle
  6. Elusive Stranger
  7. Our Movie
  8. Danced
  9. Last Goodbye
  10. Victims Of The Riddle (Vivisection)
  11. Race Through Space

Bonus Tracks

  1. Gaoler
  2. Bird In Flight
  3. Tribal Look
  4. Love Me (Dangerfield Session)*
  5. Tribal Look (Alternate Mix)*
  6. Our Movie (Shoestring Version)*
  7. Waiting (Shoestring Version)*
  8. Neon Womb (Shoestring Version)*
  9. Danced (Shoestring Version)*
  • Previously Unreleased

Disc Two:

  1. Computers (Demo)*
  2. Little Boy (Demo)*
  3. Close Encounters (Demo)*
  4. Watch Me Sane (Demo)*
  5. Jailer (Demo)*
  6. Race Through Space (Demo) *
  7. Elusive Stranger (Demo)*
  8. Problem Child (Demo)
  9. Israel (Demo)
  10. Christmas Carol (Demo)
  11. Race Through Space (Alternate Mix)*
  12. Neon Womb (No Saxophone)*
  13. Our Movie (Alternate Mix)*
  14. Waiting (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  15. Indecision (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  16. Computer (Alternate Vocal Mix)*
  17. Vivisection (Improvisation)*
  18. Love Me (Demo)
  19. Tribal Look (Demo)
  20. Guilty (Demo)
  21. Three-Sided Face (Demo)

Disc Three (Ntsc – Region Free Dvd):

  1. The Story Behind The Album : 2020 Interview
  2. Track-By-Track Album Commentary: 2020 Interview
  3. Neon Womb: Acoustic Session 2020
  4. Computer: Acoustic Session 2020
  5. Bird In Flight: Acoustic Session 2020
  6. Race Through Space: What’s On 12/04/1979
  7. Toyah Interview: What’s On 19/04/1979
  8. Danced: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980
  9. Indecision: The Old Grey Whistle Test 04/03/1980

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: 2CD/1DVD Deluxe Digipak

Buy Toyah Sheep Farming In Barnet: Limited Edition White Vinyl





Frost* 13 Winters artbook / boxset Review

10 11 2020

Frost* are releasing 13 Winters, a Limited Edition Deluxe 8-disc Artbook that contains remastered (and for Experiments In Mass Appeal a remix/remaster) of their three studio albums, plus the previously digital only Others EP, two live albums, the instrumental version of Falling Satellites, a rarities disc along with an artbook.

Frost* were formed in 2004 by Jem Godfrey, who was known for creating chart-topping hits for acts including Atomic Kitten, Shayne Ward and Holly Valance. Godfrey teamed up with John Mitchell (Lonely Robot, Kino, Arena, It Bites…) and other musicians to explore his earlier roots in progressive rock. Whilst modern progressive rock is at the forefront of Frost*, the songs also expose Godfrey’s pop skills, with strong melodies and hooks.

The Milliontown remaster is a subtle upgrade, with better separation and clarity, making the quieter parts more powerful but the heavy patches hit you hard with their renewed energy. This presents the album in its best light, and it is a pleasure rediscovering the band’s debut album. From the slow-building progressive-pop of Hyperventilate, that sets an early blueprint for the breadth of Frost*’s vision, to one of my favourite songs, the warm and nostalgic Snowman.

Black Light Machine highlights the power of this new remaster, and the closing song, the epic Milliontown, sounds stunning.

Whilst not a favourite of Jem Godfrey, I love the band’s second album, 2008’s Experiments In Mass Appeal. It does have more of an alt-rock feel than its predecessor, and is certainly more guitar based, but the pop sensibility remains. The version of Experiments In Mass Appeal in this boxset is a 2020 remix as well as a remaster.

Along with the rock tracks, such as the title track and Pocket Sun, the album delivers some touching slower paced, more melancholic pieces. My favourite of these is Saline. At times reduced to just a solo piano line, this is one of the most stripped back but hard-hitting tracks the band have ever released. When the strings kick in towards the end, you realise that Saline is such a powerful and emotional statement.

“And I don’t know if I can survive the feeling
Losing all that’s mine”

Falling Down is another personal favourite, and has remained so since its release back in 2008. Andy Edwards contributes some great drum patterns on this intelligent arrangement, as it shifts from light to dark moods. Toys reminds me of mid-period Mansun, and is stuffed to the brim with hook after hook. The Secret Song (aka the hidden track on Wonderland) is a fine way to end the album.

“And I’ll be fine
Don’t worry
Remember me…”

2016’s Falling Satellites is available as the full album plus an instrumental version in the 13 Winters boxset. The album features the mighty Craig Blundell on drums, who leaves his mark early on with Numbers and a song that reminds me of The Police in the verses, Signs. There is a strong feeling of consistency throughout Falling Satellites, which comes across as a real band album, and benefits from a subtle and sympathetic remaster.

Towerblock is a song of change and rebuilding, and the loss of the physical places where some of our memories live. A glitchy, stuttering production full of found sounds makes this track unique in the bands catalogue.

“(They’re all gone gone gone gone gone gone)
The height lines on my bedroom door
(They’re all gone gone gone gone gone gone)
My soldiers hiding under the floor”

Lights Out is another quality mid-tempo pop piece, and freshens the palette mid-way through the album.

Closer To The Sun is a late-night chillout track, with mesmerising percussion work, that mutates mid-song, featuring a solo from Joe Satriani as the arrangement becomes more progressive. Mix those genres Frost*! Which is something they do to even more dramatic effect on The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8, which starts off like a modern take on the blues genre before shape-shifting into a completely different beast as the song twists and changes.

The album ends with the short and sparse Last Day.

“Handprints in old concrete
Ghosts we leave behind”

Falling Satellive is the Falling Satellites album (minus opening track First Day) in a live performance with the same line-up as the studio album. The live version of Numbers gives off strong Synchronicity 1 (The Police) vibes. The album is a recording of the band’s gig at Dingwalls, London, in November 2017.

Shorn of a lot of the studio production effects, the songs work well live, with a heightened sense of energy and purpose. Lights Out and especially Closer To The Sun work well in a live environment. Be prepared for an interloper at the end of the final track, by the way. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The second live album, The Philadelphia Experiment, was recorded in 2009 and features a different line-up, including Dec Burke, Nick D’Virgilio and John Jowitt. It features one of the best humorous uses of intro music I have heard, and a solid set from the first two studio albums, including a live-looping Snowman and an electrifying Milliontown.

13 Winters features the first physical release for the Others EP from earlier in 2020. Featuring a stripped back line up of Jem Godfrey and drummers Craig Blundell / Andy Edwards, Clouda features wonderful harmonies and Exhibit A pushes the tempo to extremes.

Fathom is an orchestral piece, whilst Eat is a sample driven song, like Art of Noise on steroids. Drown pumps up the electronics and I look forward to hearing more songs that deviate from expectations from Frost* in the near future (a new album is being written and recorded at the moment).

The final disc is This And That – B-Sides And Rarities. Opening with one of the most ambitious Frost* songs, The Dividing Line is a 16 minute plus track that alternates between Goldfrapp-esque glamrock, quasi-classical / music-box breakdowns and some of the wildest riffage in the bands catalogue. The song is all over the place stylistically, it doesn’t follow the rules and shouldn’t really work, but the absolutely manic joy in the performance captures your attention and is a highlight of this set. The Dividing Line is certainly not for the faint-hearted!

British Wintertime is the strongest song on this disc and one of my favourite Frost* songs – a delicate, emotive goodbye. I never tire of this song, its one I often put on repeat. A beautiful, mesmerising piece of music.

There are four songs in demo form on this disc that offer a preview of how the finished studio tracks developed. The Towerblock demo is mostly found sounds, smashing and crashing over a skeletal arrangement. The demo of Closer To The Sun is interesting to hear, as it is even more electronic than the final version. A short demo take of Last Day is the final vocal track on the This And That – B-Sides And Rarities disc. The instrumental soundscapes of Hyperventilate Hypoventilate Paulstretch Test closes the collection, with its dreamlike waves of stretched sound.

Frost* 13 Winters is a quick and easy way to get hold of the band’s back catalogue, and the albums all sound better than they ever have (not that they originally sounded bad!). The set also includes an artbook containing images from the cover-art shots, an honest / self-critical interview with Jem Godfrey and album notes, including lyrics for the studio albums.


Buy Frost* 13 Winters on CD from Amazon

Buy from other retailers


As well as the limited physical release, the individual albums will be available digitally from the end of November 2020.

Disc 1 – Milliontown (2006) Remaster 2020

  1. Hyperventilate (Remaster 2020) 7:30
  2. No Me No You (Remaster 2020) 6:08
  3. Snowman (Remaster 2020) 3:54
  4. Black Light Machine (Remaster 2020) 10:08
  5. The Other Me (Remaster 2020) 4:48
  6. Milliontown (Remaster 2020) 26:09

Disc 2 – Experiments In Mass Appeal (2008) Remix/Remaster 2020

  1. Experiments In Mass Appeal (Remix/Remaster 2020) 7:54
  2. Welcome To Nowhere (Remix/Remaster 2020) 5:32
  3. Pocket Sun (Remix/Remaster 2020) 4:29
  4. Saline (Remix/Remaster 2020) 6:09
  5. Dear Dead Days (Remix/Remaster 2020) 6:50
  6. Falling Down (Remix/Remaster 2020) 5:50
  7. You/I (Remix/Remaster 2020) 1:05
  8. Toys (Remix/Remaster 2020) 3:05
  9. Wonderland (Remix/Remaster 2020) 5:54
  10. The Secret Song (Remix/Remaster 2020) 8:21

Disc 3 – Falling Satellites (2016) Remaster 2020

  1. First Day (Remaster 2020) 1:39
  2. Numbers (Remaster 2020) 4:21
  3. Towerblock (Remaster 2020) 6:13
  4. Signs (Remaster 2020) 6:35
  5. Lights Out (Remaster 2020) 3:51
  6. Heartstrings (Remaster 2020) 6:20
  7. Closer To The Sun (Remaster 2020) 7:20
  8. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues In 7/8 (Remaster 2020) 7:49
  9. Nice Day For It (Remaster 2020) 6:37
  10. Hypoventilate (Remaster 2020) 2:00
  11. Last Day (Remaster 2020) 3:25

Disc 4 – Falling Satellites – Instrumentals (2016) Remaster 2020

  1. First Day (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 1:39
  2. Numbers (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 4:21
  3. Towerblock (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 6:13
  4. Signs (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 6:35
  5. Lights Out (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 3:51
  6. Heartstrings (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 6:21
  7. Closer To The Sun (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 7:20
  8. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues in 7/8 (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 7:49
  9. Nice Day For It… (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 6:37
  10. Hypoventilate (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 2:00
  11. Last Day (Instrumental/Remaster 2020) 3:24

Disc 5 – Falling Satellive – Live 2017

  1. Numbers (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 4:45
  2. Towerblock (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 7:48
  3. Signs (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 7:18
  4. Lights Out (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 5:40
  5. Heartstrings (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 6:02
  6. Closer To The Sun (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 7:35
  7. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light Blues In 7/8 (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 7:49
  8. Nice Day For It… (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 6:44
  9. Hypoventilate (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 1:02
  10. Last Day (Live at Dingwalls, London, 2017) 3:45

Disc 6 – Others – EP

  1. Fathers 4:54
  2. Clouda 6:54
  3. Exhibit A 5:35
  4. Fathom 3:58
  5. Eat 4:39
  6. Drown 5:59

Disc 7 – The Philadelphia Experiment – Live 2009

  1. Intro (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 2:06
  2. Hyperventilate (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 5:55
  3. Wonderland (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 4:56
  4. Black Light Machine (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 10:29
  5. Snowman (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 6:18
  6. Saline (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 6:16
  7. Milliontown (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 25:58
  8. The Other Me (Live at The Keswick Theatre, Glenside, 2nd May 2009) 7:19

Disc 8 – This And That – B-Sides And Rarities

  1. The Dividing Line 16:50
  2. Lantern 3:45
  3. British Wintertime 6:29
  4. The Forget You Song 2:24
  5. Numbers (Day 1 Demo) 4:14
  6. Towerblock (Day 1 Demo) 3:01
  7. Heartstrings (Demo) 5:00
  8. Closer To The Sun (Demo) 7:16
  9. The Raging Against The Dying Of The Light In 7/8 (Day 1 Demo) 7:54
  10. Last Day (Demo) 2:48
  11. Hyperventilate Hypoventilate Paulstretch Test 8:53

Buy Frost* 13 Winters on CD from Amazon





The return of CousteauX

20 10 2020

CousteauX (formerly known as Cousteau) after a few years away are back, with a new album Stray Gods.

Cousteau were a London based band active from 1999 to 2005, releasing 3 studio albums and known for the songs The Last Good Day of The Year and Mesmer.

Core Cousteau members Liam McKahey and Davey Ray Moor returned as CousteauX in 2016 and after releasing their first album under the CousteauX name in 2017, and a series of well-received gigs, it all went quiet again and the band seemed to have disappeared. Until now.

Stray Gods will be available with songs being released via their website, one track at a time, with a choose your own price model. There is no news at this stage of a physical release (a vinyl release would be welcome!) but this is a good way to support the band and that will hopefully lead to further music.

Live stream gigs are also a possibility. Sign up to the band’s mailing list and follow them on their social media channels, on Facebook and Twitter.

For other music news, follow me on Twitter.





Lunatic Soul – “Through Shaded Woods” album review

16 10 2020

Lunatic Soul release their new album Through Shaded Woods on KScope on 13 November 2020, on single CD, limited double CD and vinyl.

Lunatic Soul is the solo studio project of vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Mariusz Duda (Riverside). Album number seven Through Shaded Woods explores the darkness of Slavic and Scandinavian folk.

Previous Lunatic Soul albums have been very electronic affairs. Through Shaded Woods is a virtually electronic free zone, with more acoustic and electric guitars than previous releases and for the first time, Duda plays all the instruments.

Through Shaded Woods opens with the hypnotising and trancelike Navvie, an upbeat and rousing call to arms that conjures up “the souls of the dead” and along with several tracks on the album, signals a feeling of rebirth and positivity. Not a bad feeling in these strange times we are currently living through.

The second longest track on the album, The Passage, is one of the most rewarding tracks as you journey Through Shaded Woods. This is the darkest Duda gets on the album, with a piece that starts off relatively bright and sparse, working towards the razor-sharp dark metal riffs that propel the powerful middle section.

“I’m thinking out loud
passing former gods
turned into trees
am I in the real life
or am I in the realm of make-believe”

The riffs fall away quickly but the tempo remains high on one of the strongest tracks on the album.

The title track twists and turns, with light percussion underneath the trademark Lunatic Soul harmonies and a feeling of paranoia, amplified by the heavily processed lead vocal. Lycanthropy lingers in the dark forests of Duda’s lyric.

“eyes on every corner
shining in the dark”

As we hit the half-way mark, the mood of Through Shaded Woods lifts. Oblivion has a wonderful drum and guitar interplay, as melodies sneak in and out of the intriguing rhythm arrangement. Where previously synths would have laid the textures, on this album the same effect is offered by vocal layers.

Summoning Dance is the longest track, and as throughout the whole album, it offers up its secrets over repeated plays. The guitars give the main rhythmic thrust, underpinned by a simple kick pulse. I dare you to keep still whilst listening to Summoning Dance. The music hints at a simpler, more pagan and earth-connected time, and works so much better if you give your full attention and immerse yourself in the performance.

“so why do I feel
like I already failed”

Photo: Tomasz Pulsakowski

The Fountain features one of my favourite Mariusz Duda vocal performances. There is a real lightness of touch, and a lovely slightly rasping timbre that suits the aching melancholy of the song perfectly.

“stream of sounds
wash away the darkness from my soul”

Through Shaded Woods stands alone in the Lunatic Soul catalogue. It works so well as a complete body of work, as it flows with more consistency than previous albums. It has quickly seeped into my soul and is one of my favourite albums of 2020.

Navvie [04:03]
The Passage
[08:57]
Through Shaded Woods
[05:51]
Oblivion
[05:03]
Summoning Dance
[09:52]
The Fountain
[06:04]

Bonus tracks contained on disc 2 of the Limited Edition CD:

Vyraj [05:32]
Hylophobia
[03:20]
Transition II
[27:45]





Airbag – All Rights Removed & The Greatest Show on Earth limited edition vinyl re-issues

9 10 2020

Karisma Records are re-issuing Airbag’s All Rights Removed and The Greatest Show on Earth on November 20 2020 on limited edition vinyl, with both albums remastered for vinyl by White Willow / The Opium Cartel’s Jacob Holm-Lupo.

Airbag’s second album All Rights Removed was originally released in 2011. The 2020 remaster is released as a heavyweight double vinyl in gatefold cover, pressed on red vinyl.

The Norwegian band’s third album The Greatest Show on Earth was first released in 2013, and this 2020 heavyweight vinyl remaster is pressed on blue vinyl.

Jacob Holm-Lupo has offered a subtle and sympathetic remaster for vinyl. No brick-walling here – there is no real volume difference, just a little more punch and the synths really sparkle in this redux. This is the best these albums have ever sounded..

All Rights Removed sees the band shift their sound up a gear. The album opener is a heady mix of classic and progressive rock, with guitarist Bjørn Riis rising to the fore on most tracks.

White Walls is full of Dave Gilmour influenced guitar runs and textures, and is one of my favourite songs in the Norwegion band’s catalogue. Dim the lights and turn up the volume.

The mid-section bass, keyboard and guitar prelude before the song kicks back into full power is a joy to experience.

“Cos nothing ever stays the same…”

The tempo remains constant with The Bridge, before the space-rock of Never Coming Home (it reminds me of Signify era Porcupine Tree) leads into the atmospheric instrumental Light Them All Up.

The album closes with one of the band’s most popular tracks (in terms of 1 million Spotify streams) with the 17 and a half minute Homesick. The song is stunning and this is the best I have heard this masterpiece sound. Heading off into Tangerine Dream and Pink Floyd territory in the mid-section, this is a journey you really want to take.

The Greatest Show on Earth adds a slight metal element to the band’s palette, on top of their more atmospheric layered sound from previous releases.

Redemption is a slow-burning modern prog piece, with spurts of heavy, gasoline fuelled choruses. Silence Grows moves the intensity down a couple of notches, with a powerful song that would not have sounded out of place on David Gilmour’s On An Island album. The instrumental sections sound amazing thanks to the superb Jacob Holm-Lupo vinyl master.

The Greatest Show on Earth is an album built to be heard in one sitting, and so works best in the vinyl format, when you can give it your full attention, and not break into individual tracks on streaming platforms.

There is a great use of vocal harmonies, atmosphere and restraint to build the mood on the albums second longest track, Call Me Back.

Surveillance (part 2​-​3) is the 16 minute album closer. Taking some of the mood of Porcupine Tree’s Stars Die, Surveillance (part 2​-​3) is a story of isolation and moves from an emotive, quite traditional arrangement to something darker and more experimental as it progresses.

“No need for you to be here
The comfort of my TV screen is all that I need”

All Rights Removed & The Greatest Show on Earth are limited edition releases, so if you missed out on getting these wonderful modern progressive albums on vinyl a few years ago, now is your chance. Links to buy the albums on Burning Shed and Amazon are below.





News: The Bathers Marina Records trilogy (vinyl & CD reissues)

30 09 2020

The Bathers Marina Records trilogy received it’s first vinyl release in October 2020. Lagoon Blues, Sunpowder and Kelvingrove Baby were released on 180g vinyl and CD in remixed and remastered versions on 23 October 2020.

Scotland’s best-kept secret The Bathers will appeal to fans of The Blue Nile, Tom Waits and David Bowie. If you enjoy orchestrated, emotional, literate music that swerves from the standard rock template, The Bathers might become your new favourite band. You can thank me later.

Lagoon Blues

A 2020 remixed and remastered version of the album that was originally released on Marina Records in 1993. Lagoon Blues is an ambitious and emotional journey. Listen to the beautiful Venice Shoes, with its evocation of empty ballrooms and rainy nights on the lamp lit streets and city squares of Glasgow, below.

Lagoon Blues Pt. 1
Venice Shoes
Gracefruit
Never Too Late
Fermina Fair
Easter – for Edda Van Heemstra
Pissoir / The Ornella Mutiny
Through The Old Holmwood
Sweetheart Sessions
Lolita
Via D’Oro
Ave The Leopards
Carnival
Easter Sorbonne
Lagoon Blues Pt. 2

Sunpowder

A 2020 remixed and remastered version of the album that was originally released on Marina Records in 1995. Elizabeth Fraser of The Cocteau Twins contributes vocals to several tracks, most notably on the free-spirited The Angel On Ruskin (listen below).

Danger In Love
The Angel On Ruskin
Delft
Faithless
For Saskia
Weem Rock Muse
The Night Is Young
Send Me Your Halo
She’s Gone Forever
The Dutch Venus
Sunpowder

Kelvingrove Baby

A 2020 remixed and remastered version of the final album in the Marina Records trilogy, originally released in 1997. Kelvingrove Baby features contributions from Justin Currie (Del Amitri) and James Grant (Love and Money).

The personal highlight on the album is my favourite song from the band, the achingly beautiful If Love Could Last Forever.

“They flutter down like fireflies
Tugging at your sleeves
Somehow rise to shame you
Bring you to your knees”

Thrive
Girlfriend
If Love Could Last Forever
East Of East Delier
Kelvingrove Baby
Dial
Once Upon A Time On The Rapenburg
Girl From The Polders
The Fragrance Remains Insane
Hellespont In A Storm
Twelve

The Best of The Bathers

To listen to more of my favourites, listen to my Spotify playlist – The Best of The Bathers








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