Wednesday 27 July 2011

"Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin" - Elephant Stone's new single available as FREE download now...

You can download the A-Side of Elephant Stone's new single "Love The Sinner, Hate The Sin" 
just click HERE

It's a taster for the upcoming European tour dates in the Autumn. The track is pure summer pop perfection, packed full of melody with a beautiful shimmering guitar riff intro.
The best things in life are free alright..!

10/13-10/15 Iceland Airwaves
10/18 London @ The Lexington w/ Koolaid, Hall of Mirrors and the See See
10/20 Cardiff (SWN Fest) @ Clwb Ifor Bach w/ Herman Dune
10/21 Carlisle @ The Brickyard w/ Kontiki Suite
10/22 Edinburgh @ The Bongo Club w/ Delta Mainline
10/25 Nottingham @ Chameleon Arts Cafe w/ Cult of Dom Keller
10/26 Liverpool @ The Kazimier w/ By The Sea
10/27 York @ Stereo

Saturday 23 July 2011

Ian Person soundtracks new IFK Göteborg movie "Fotbollens Sista Proletärer"

Ian Person, guitarist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives, has written the soundtrack music to a new documentary movie about IFK Göteborg's European footballing adventures in the 80's. The film is called "Fotbollens Sista Proletärer", which roughly translates as "Football's Last Proletarians", and it's just been released in Sweden on DVD (with English subtitles). As you can probably tell from the title, the story concentrates on the part-time underdogs of IFK pitted against the wealth and condescension of the footballing elite of the time, such as Hamburg SV and Barcelona.
Firstly, it’s the 1982 season and we see Sven-Göran Eriksson managing a team fighting bankruptcy, only their progress in the UEFA Cup and money raised from the Supporter’s Club prevented this from happening. They reach the Final and, despite beating Hamburg SV 1-0 at home in the first leg, they arrive in Germany for the away fixture to be greeted by stalls selling T-shirts, flags and scarves somewhat arrogantly proclaiming “Hamburg SV UEFA Cup 1982 Winners”. Sven sees his opportunity and takes a banner into the dressing room; there was no longer a need for a motivational speech and IFK win 3-0 on the day to lift the UEFA Cup. Sven also leads the team to the Allsvenskan League Title and Swedish Cup, so the part time cooks and plumbers end the season as Treble Winners. The success and higher profile means that the best players such as Torbjörn Nilsson, Dan Corneliusson and Glenn Hysén are snapped up and most go abroad to play professionally with Sven leaving to manage Benfica.

Crowd at IFK - Photo by Steve Worrall
The story then moves forward to the 1986 European campaign and you can almost sense the end of the joyful innocence, not only in the team, but also in Sweden as a whole. Shockingly, the Prime Minister Olof Palme is assassinated and we see the rise of consumerism which makes the ideals of the social democratic “Swedish Model” seem out-dated. IFK reach the Europa Cup Semi-Final against Terry Venables’ Barcelona and against all the odds and predictions win the first leg 3-0.  As the away leg approaches and with Barca facing an embarrassing 3-0 against score line, rumours of corruption and bribery surface. There is a bizarre twist when it is found out that some girls were hanging around the IFK team’s Hotel in Barcelona trying to lure the players into joining them for drinks allegedly spiked with drugs to cause illness before the match. The game is finally underway and IFK score first, however after pressure from the Barcelona players the referee suddenly disallows the goal. Barca then take control and the game ends tied at 3-3. So, it’s all down to penalties, Roland Nilsson misses and, that’s it, the dream is all over.
The film then catches up with some of the IFK players today, all are remarkably down to earth. Johnny Ekström comes across as a laid back cool customer, Torbjörn Nilsson is shy and self depreciating despite his amazing skills. We see Glenn Hysén wearing an IFK scarf greeting other fans at a home game and Ruben Svensson working in a children’s care home. But it’s Dan Corneliusson who is the star of the movie for me, you can sense in him a longing and tinge of nostalgia for the team spirit of the old IFK playing days. There is also a very poignant and moving scene where we follow him to Italy to visit his old Como team-mate Stefano Borgonovo who is unfortunately very ill with a terminal muscle wasting disease.

The film is well directed and moves at pace with great archive footage. However, it can be enjoyed even if you are not a football fan, as it also highlights the social and political side of Sweden at the time and portrays an age of footballing innocence long since disappeared from these times of pampered and over-paid Premier League stars.

And then of course you have the added bonus of the excellent soundtrack from Ian Person! The overall feel of the music is very up-tempo, with some beautiful acoustic and Flamenco guitar pieces,  here is a brief song-by-song guide:
“Voodoo Boogie” the movie’s main theme, is built around an insistent riff with slide guitar.
“Glenn #1” is a majestic thumping theme over highlights of the first leg win at home against Barcelona and Nilsson’s two great goals.

Photo by Melissa Anselmi
“IFK ’75” has slide guitar and harmonica reminiscent of “Exile On Main Street” era Rolling Stones.
“Torbjörn Theme” is a gentle acoustic version of “Fool’s Parade” which previously appeared on Ian’s “Diamonds In The Rough” album.
“Wermeland” is a Flamenco tinged guitar piece.
“Hail to Glenn” features a sinister, repetitive riff that perfectly suits the scenes of the players sliding in the muddy pitch and the crunching tackles from a cynical Hamburg SV team.
“Shake You D.C.” is almost a fully formed song, a real thumper with vocoder vocals.
“Take Us Home - UEFA Cup ’82” is my highlight of the movie soundtrack. It features beautiful strings and has an acoustic sound similar to R.E.M. around their “Out of Time” period. The song builds majestically as IFK lift the UEFA Cup.
“Desperate” is a catchy rocker.
“Here it Comes” a lighter number with nice guitar and piano.
“Run Johnny Run” is just one big catchy chorus in tribute to Johnny Ekström.
“Valencia Theme” is in a John Barry style, reminiscent of a spy movie theme riff .
“Barcelona Semi Final” is suitably dark and ominous music.
“Borgonovo”, in keeping with the moving scene of Corneliusson visiting his ill ex-team-mate, is perfectly suited, being full of beautifully layered Flamenco guitars.  
“Dire Situation” is a catchy rocking number that plays out over the end credits.

Ian Person at Slussens Pensionat - Photo by Steve Worrall
Ian Person kindly spared some time to answer a few questions about his involvement with the soundtrack to the movie. Ian is a long time IFK supporter and even sports a Gothenburg lion tattoo and a beautiful custom made First Act Semi-acoustic guitar embossed with the Gothenburg logo. You can see some great photos of the guitar here.
Q: Ian, how did you get involved in working on the soundtrack for the movie?
Ian: Kalle, who plays bass in The Soundtrack of Our Lives, is the producer of the film so he suggested me to the two directors, Carl Pontus Hjorthen and Martin Jönsson. They both knew about me and my song writing and also that I was a huge IFK fan.
Q: What musicians and producer did you work with?
Ian: I wrote and recorded everything in my own studio except the drums, which were recorded at Kalle's studio (Svenska Grammofon Studion) in Gothenburg. The drummer is a well known session musician called Johan Håkansson. Additional musicians on the recordings include harmonica played by Mattias Hellberg and violin by Martin Hederos. It was recorded and mixed by John Rönneklev but supervised by me.
Q: Will the soundtrack be released as a separate album?
Ian: It will be included in next DVD edition but not released as a separate CD.
Q: Did you get to meet the players featured in the movie such as Corneliusson and Nilsson?
Ian: Yes, I met most of the guys at the film's premier. However, some of them  still go to all of the IFK home games, like Glenn Hysén, whose son, Tobias, is the best striker in Allsvenskan.
Q: In the film they seemed very down to earth guys, how did they react to the movie?
Ian: They all loved it! All still have both feet firmly on the ground!
Q: How long have you been an IFK supporter?
Ian: I've been an IFK supporter since my first game in 1978.
Q: Who are your favourite IFK players, past and present?
Ian: Glenn Strömberg, Torbjörn Nilsson, Johnny Ekström, Håkan Mild, Ruben Svensson and many more! In today's squad; Robin Söder, Tobias Hysén, Stefan Selakovic and Joel Allanson.
Q: Who are IFK's main rivals? Do you have the same inter-city rivalry with the teams in Gothenburg such as we do in the U.K.?
Ian: Our main rivals are actually the teams from Stockholm, AIK, Djurgårdens IF and Hammarby IF. At the moment we have three teams from Gothenburg in the top league (Allsvenskan) and now GAIS are the main rivals.
Q: You released the superb album "Diamonds In The Rough" which was originally another soundtrack, is this something you'd like to do more of in the future?
Ian: Absolutely, I would love to do more soundtracks.
Q: Finally, what do you have planned as your next project?
Ian: My next project is a documentary about the first hippie movement during the early 1900s in Switzerland, Monte Verità. Ida Hoffman, Otto Grosman and Isadora Duncan, to name a few. They were mainly rich intellectuals that wanted to be free from their strict way of life. Growing beards, no corsets, naked sun bathing, free love, becoming vegetarians. They later moved to California and called themselves "nature boys". Hopefully it will be out in cinemas Spring 2012.
I'll also start to record a proper solo album, the plan is to release it when we're done with the next TSOOL album/tour, so winter 2012.

Fotbollens Sista Proletärer is Directed by Carl Pontus Hjorthen and Martin Jönsson by Svenska Filmstudio, Produced by Kalle Gustafsson Jerneholm.

Ian Person takes the applause at London's Bush Hall - Photo by Paul Slattery
Many thanks to Ian Person for his time and to Melissa Anselmi, Paul Slattery for contributing photographs.

Monday 18 July 2011

Reading Steady Go! An Exhibition of Mod Culture

Yesterday I went to an excellent exhibition, "Reading Steady Go" featuring original '60's Mod Culture in Reading and surrounding areas at the Reading Museum & Gallery.  
Here's my impressions and some pictures (before the guard told me to stop taking photos...)

As you enter there's a juke box in one corner playing some classic Mod and Soul tracks of the era. Dobie Gray's "The "In" Crowd" follows The Who's "Substitute" and then it's into "Sha La La La Lee" by the Small Faces and many more timeless songs.

The exhibition room is well laid out with lots of display cases stuffed full of pictures, clothes, record covers, style accessories and other bits of Modernist memorabilia. Some excellent gig posters adorn the walls along with photos of the locations and movers and shakers of the scene.
There are Sixties clothes and even mock-ups of a typical Mod teenager's bedroom and a barber shop - where the discerning young Mod would spend a lot of time ensuring his hair was styled in the the latest fashion. But the Exhibition's main centre-piece is a stand featuring beautiful Vespa and Lambretta scooters, you just want to hop on one when the guard is not looking and drive on down to Brighton Beach!
There are stands with eye-witness reports which set the scene and help the exhibition come to life as you are really drawn in to people's comments on what was happening at the time.
Reading was a major Mod location mainly due to it being the largest town in the area around which the famous Ricky-Tick Club revolved. The Ricky-Tick was resident in various venues including Reading, High Wycombe, Maidenhead and Guildford but became more established in Windsor and near-by riverside Clewer Manor.
Looking at the list of names who played there makes me wish I had been born about twenty years earlier as I might have seen The Yardbirds, The Who, Geno Washington and even Jimi Hendrix all a few miles from my house! In fact nearly all of the Sixties top acts would perform at The Ricky-Tick as they started off in the music business, Eric Clapton with John Mayall's band, Georgie Fame, Zoot Money,  The Animals amongst others. 
The Rolling Stones played many times at the various Ricky-Tick locations and in the exhibition you can see one of Brian Jones' guitars and jackets (pictured above right).

The Exhibition is free and runs until October 09th and as the Gallery is only five minutes from Reading rail station you could even pop in while you're waiting for your delayed train!

Sunday 17 July 2011

Nymphet Noodlers + Ian Person at Sticky Fingers Gothenburg August 11th

Nymphet Noodlers play a reunion gig at Sticky Fingers in Gothenburg on Thursday August 11th along with a solo performance from Ian Person, The Soundtrack of Our Lives/Diamonds In The Rough guitarist and songwriter.

The Original line-up will perform:
Mattias Hellberg - Vocals
Mattias Bärjed - Guitar
Jan Martens - Bass
Martin Hederos - Organ
Jesper Karlsson - Drums

The Noodlers were formed in Karlstad in the early '90s and went on to release just one album "Going Abroad", produced by Ebbot Lundberg, in 1994 before splitting up a couple of years later. Thinking about it now they have become what can only be described as a Swedish Super Group but "in reverse". 
In other words, when the band split, each member leaving was to have a big influence on Swedish music, and the family tree that has sprung from the Noodlers is impressive to say the least. I can only cover some of the branches here, follow carefully...

To start off with, when Union Carbide Productions split, Ebbot, Ian and Björn Olsson formed The Soundtrack of Our Lives and took Martin Hederos as their new keyboard player. Mattias Bärjed was to join TSOOL later on when guitarist Björn left.  Jan Martens released a fantastic album with Jesper Karlsson as "Jan Martens Frustration", which includes one of my favourite tracks (and bass-lines) "Pole Position", it's well worth tracking down. Jesper drums with Stonesy glam rockers Thunder Express (Dundertåget) with Robert Dahlqvist from The Hellacopters. Then additionally, Jan also plays in heavy riffing rock outfit Free Fall, with Mattias Bärjed.

Bärjed also composed the soundtrack, and starred in, the acclaimed TV drama "Upp Till Kamp". The music has been released on CD and features some authentic period piece '60's and '70's style tracks and incidental acoustic music. It also boasts the heart-breakingly beautiful song "Coming Down Cold" with vocals by Ebbot Lundberg. Martin Hederos teamed up with Mattias Hellberg for the "Hederos and Hellberg" side-project of stripped down piano and acoustic cover versions of tracks by bands such as The Stooges, Love and Velvet Underground. Martin also worked with Nina Ramsby and is now playing in prog/jazz band Tonbruket featuring Dan Berglund (ex-E.S.T.).

Mattias Hellberg is, in my opinion, one of the best singers in Sweden, and amongst his many collaborations one of my personal highlights include his superb self-titled solo album from 2004. He also put out a great and groovy psychedelic album as The White Moose, "Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Woods" which I would thoroughly recommend. Hellberg has also worked with Nationalteatern and with Rock 'n' Soul outfit The Solution with Scott Morgan (Sonic's Rendezvous Band) and Nick Royale (The Hellacopters). He has just released a new solo album "High In The Lowlands" out now on German label Devil Duck Records.

So you can see what I mean about how the Nymphet Noodlers ended up becoming a "Super Group", and there are far more collaborations, links and branches that I have missed out due to space limitations!

Then to cap it all, on August 11th, Ian Person will make a rare solo appearance. Ian made his name as a fantastic guitarist alongside Ebbot Lundberg in Union Carbide Productions and was a founder member of The Soundtrack of Our Lives. He previously released an excellent album under the name "Diamonds In The Rough" in 2006 full of eclectic songs and instrumentals. He has just composed the soundtrack music to the new documentary movie "Fotbollens Sista Proletärer" about IFK Göteborg's European footballing adventures back in the '80's (to be reviewed here soon).
So this could one unbelievable night, a gig featuring some of the best Swedish musical talent from the past, present and I'm sure well into the future!

Sunday 10 July 2011

The Jetsonics - Live at The Fiddler's Elbow London July 08th

The Jetsonics (Sam Day, Dave Lombardi & Adam Donovan) - Photo by Steve Worrall
It was up to London again to catch The Jetsonics playing at the excellent Fiddler's Elbow in Chalk Farm, this is the second time I've seen bands play here and it's already becoming a favourite venue. It's a good old-fashioned and unpretentious boozer that seems well run with a great sound.
Adam Donovan of The Jetsonics - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Jetsonics' first number tonight is "90 Miles Down 88 To Go", which starts off with a catchy bass run from Adam Donovan. It's a light-hearted ode to the good old Rock'n'Roll road trip, name-checking such well known musical landmarks as "Bagshot, Dover and Salisbury", and features a blistering solo from guitarist and singer Sam Day.
Sam Day of The Jetsonics - Photo by Steve Worrall
"Never Meet Your Heroes" is next and then it's the superb "Burn Burn Burn" from the band's recent "Mustard" E.P. (reviewed here previously) which has a great chorus. "Everybody's Telling Me" has some catchy "whoah-oh" backing vocals from Adam and then it's into two new songs first of which is "1977 Again".

Next new one is "On Your Case" which is probably my highlight of the show, it's a slightly slower number and rolls along on a swaying rhythm guitar line. This leads nicely into Adam's excellent reggae bass-line intro to "Somewhere Else", a song which acts as a spotlight on drummer Dave Lombardi who plays reggae exceptionally well. Then it's foot back on the gas for "7 Foot Drop" and the live highlight "Amazing" before rounding off the set with the rousing "Caterham Blues".

The Jetsonics (Sam Day, Dave Lombardi & Adam Donovan) - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Jetsonics have all the ingredients of a classic three-piece power pop band, specializing in short three and a half minute blasts of guitar riffs and singalong choruses. There are hints of early 80's Power Pop but it's tinged with some Glam Rock and New Wave and they have the sense of fun that you would asscociate with a band like Supergrass. However, it's quite difficult to compare them with anyone else around at the moment, which is a good thing of course.

Hopefully the band will soon record some songs for a new E.P. and judging on the new songs played tonight it'll certainly be something worth looking out for.

Saturday 9 July 2011

Elephant Stone UK Tour October 2011

Canadian band Elephant Stone, featuring ex-Datson 4 and High Dials sitarist/bassist Rishi Dhir, have just announced a U.K. tour in October. They will also make an apperance at Iceland's Airwaves Festival, with dates in Sweden and other destinations yet to be confirmed.

10/13-10/15 Iceland Airwaves
10/18 London @ The Lexington w/ Koolaid, Hall of Mirrors and the See See
10/20 Cardiff (SWN Fest) @ Clwb Ifor Bach w/ Herman Dune
10/21 Carlisle @ The Brickyard w/ Kontiki Suite
10/22 Edinburgh @ The Bongo Club w/ Delta Mainline
10/25 Nottingham @ Chameleon Arts Cafe w/ Cult of Dom Keller
10/26 Liverpool @ The Kazimier w/ By The Sea
10/27 York @ Stereo

I am really excited by this news, I'm yet to see Elephant Stone but saw The High Dials a couple of times when they came to London and to witness Rishi's sitar playing live was a wonderful experience. Their debut album "The Seven Seas" and "Glass Box" E.P. haven't been off the digital "turntable" for weeks since I was reminded of the band after their recent support slots with The Soundtrack of Our Lives in New York. I have also discovered, in their beautiful track "How Long", as close to pop perfection as I think I'm ever going to find!

Elephant Stone is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Rishi Dhir, a founding member of Montreal pop/psych veterans The High Dials, and sitar player for basically every outlaw psych band out there (Black Angels, The Earlies, Hopewell, Brian Jonestown Massacre…). They have supported the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Teenage Fanclub, and toured throughout North America and Europe.


In 2009 Elephant Stone released their debut album, The Seven Seas. Expertly melding Rishi’s obsession with the perfect pop song and the trippiest raga, The Seven Seas, was warmly embraced by the global indie-scene and long-listed for the coveted 2009 Polaris Music Prize. 2010 saw the release of The Glass Box EP, a 5-song suite of inspired power-pop/psych classics, a support slot on the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s North American tour, an inaugural tour of Europe with sold-out dates in London and Berlin, and showcases at both CMJ and M for Montreal.

2011 is shaping to be an even busier year as they prepare for an upcoming US tour, showcases at CMW/SXSW, a new record, and their return to UK soil.

Elephant Stone is:
Rishi Dhir: vocals, bass, sitar, guitar
Bobby Fraser: keyboards
Gab Lambert: guitar, bass, backing vocals
Chris McCarron: guitar, bass, backing vocals
Jules Pampena: drums, backing vocals

The band have been recording a new E.P. with Jace Lasek (Besnard Lakes and The Seven Seas producer) at his Breakglass Studios in Montreal. The songs were recorded live to 2" tape with a lot of sitars, tablas, backwards guitars and drones. Hopefully it will be available as a digital download to coincide with the U.K./Euro tour.