Tuesday 29 January 2013

Vic Godard & Subway Sect live at Water Rats London March 29th + Two New Singles Released...

Vic Godard & Subway Sect, featuring original bassist Paul Myers and ex-Sex Pistol Paul Cook on drums, will play The Water Rats at 328 Grays Inn Road, London WC1X 8BZ on Friday March 29th. Tickets are available now from the Water Rats web-site.

There's also news of two brand new singles, firstly there's a collaboration with Catalan band Mates Mates entitled "Vic To Vic" which is out now on Famelic Records. The venture came about after the band invited Vic to play a gig in a town on the outskirts of Barcelona called, funnily enough, Vic. The single features Vic singing in Catalan on the song "Les Parts del Cos (Castaslasnas)" and there is also talk of a forthcoming documentary film about the collaboration too. Then there will also be a new 7" vinyl Subway Sect single called "Caught in Midstream"/"You Bring Out The Demon In Me" released soon on AED Records. You can keep up to date on upcoming gigs, release dates and news at the great official Vic Godard web-site which also features an excellent Blog and really interesting and fun Tour diary, looking back at 2012. 

Following our recent work with The Fallen Leaves, who feature original Subway Sect guitarist Rob Symmons, photographer Paul Slattery was going through his archive and found this superb rare photo. So, here's Vic & Subway Sect at The Music Machine back in March 1978, hope you like it.

Subway Sect, Music Machine, March 1978 - Photo copyright Paul Slattery
We also play a Vic Godard song in the new Retrosonic Podcast, Episode 6. Check out our choice...

Many thanks to Paul Slattery for the Subway Sect photograph.

Saturday 26 January 2013

Caviare Days - "The Awakening" EP

Maja and Lina Westin of Caviare Days - Photo by Johannes Helje
“The Chauffeur, a Russian Czar of the period of Ivan the Terrible, was a self-appointed guide, and the resplendent names – Cannes, Nice, Monte Carlo – began to glow through their torpid camouflage, whispering of old kings come here to dine or die, of rajahs tossing Buddha’s eyes to English ballerinas, of Russian princes turning the weeks into Baltic twilights in the lost caviare days”
- F. Scott Fitzgerald. Tender is the Night (1934)

Caviare Days consists of Swedish sisters Lina and Maja Westin, drummer Timmy Grim Fredriksson, guitarist Boris Grubesic and Marcus Arborelius on keyboards. The band had been recommended to me by various friends in Sweden and even by certain members of The Soundtrack of Our Lives, so I got in touch with the band. Lina Westin, kindly explained: "What connects Caviare Days to TSOOL is that we did our very first gigs ever as supporting act for them in late 2010, on their "Communion" tour. After that we have been in contact, seeing each regularly. We played at Ebbot's Club in Särö (Club Revolution No. 9), it's such an amazing setting, and then an additional gig in Varberg at his friend's Club, it was so much fun. Last, but not least, we did the support show on their "Communion" gig at the Södra Teatern in Stockholm on December 21st as well as joining the choir on their last ever gig on December 22nd."

November last year saw the release of the excellent "The Awakening" EP, a fantastic four song fix that melds the sisters' dreamy harmonies with some perfectly crafted danceable Psychedelic-tinged pop. However, there's a nice edge to their sound, and the songs, although melodic and catchy, have a depth that conjures up their pals Soundtrack of Our Lives on occasion. The EP starts with the title track which is a powerful, slightly dark number, with it's backwards phased guitar that wouldn't be out of place on the "Nuggets" Sixties garage rock compilation. Next is my favourite, "The Lucky Ones", a powerful track with some excellent drumming that brings to mind The Duke Spirit. Third song "You'll Qualify" starts off with a raw bass rumble and the sister's vocals float beautifully over the top and there's an inspired guitar break half way through. "When The Light Is Breaking" starts off with simple yet effective bass and acoustic riffs with the sister's beautiful harmonies. There are Baroque echoes of Goldfrapp's superb "Seventh Tree" album, when they went through their Pagan Psych-Folk phase. Suddenly the song shifts up a gear and builds to an urgent disco beat with strumming acoustic guitars, all pierced by a nice psychedelic guitar line. It's one of those perfect EPs, where the four songs really complement each other, yet show a depth and variety of material that promises there will much more great music to come from the band  in the future.

Although the band's debut album "Caviare Days" has been out in Sweden since last May, it's not due for a UK release until late Spring this year. The album was produced by Mats Björke of Mando Diao and Jorge Elbrecht of New York based Violens and it was mastered by Frank Arkwright at Abbey Road Studios. We'll keep you updated as soon as a UK release date is fixed, and hopefully Caviare Days will play some shows over here to promote it. If you can't wait that long to get hold of a copy, and you've played "The Awakening" EP to death, then you can order the album now on import from Bengans in Sweden, it's available on CD or Vinyl.

2012 was a busy year for Caviare Days, it saw the band collaborating with the fashion brand GANT and the New York based designer Michael Bastian, to create the soundtrack for their mod inspired Fall 2012 collection. Continuing with the fashion theme, Caviare Days also did some modeling/playlist-making for fashion brand Monki.

Here's a great video to "The Lucky Ones" from "The Awakening" E.P. The video is the result of the friendship between Caviare Days and the prominent American menswear designer Michael Bastian, who needed a song to go with his preppy Mod collection for the GANT fall/winter 2012 collection.

Photos by Johannes Helje. With many thanks to Lina Westin.

For more information on the band and up-to-date news please check the Caviare Days web-site.

You can hear a track from "The Awakening EP" on our brand new Retrosonic Podcast Episode 6:

Friday 25 January 2013

The Travellers - "Summer With No Sun"/"74 Times" New Double A-side Single out now

Photo Courtesy of The Travellers
The Travellers have just released a superb new double A-Side single on Lemoncake Records, it's called "Summer With No Sun/74 Times" and is available on 7" vinyl and download, and it is well worth getting hold of. It's one of those, now rare, examples of a perfect classic "single", both tracks are top quality examples of prime Retro Pop. The band capture the essence of classic groovy Sixties and Seventies Psychedelic Electronica, with Motown beats and fuzzed up guitar, catchy organ riffs and wonderful timeless melodies. There's also a real feeling of cool Euro-chic about the band - listening to their cinematic music conjures up images of Paris with Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jane Seberg, or of sitting at a cafe on the the sun baked streets of Rome sipping a cappuccino with Vespas buzzing all around.

Photo courtesy of The Travellers
This cross-cultural feel is no gimmick though, it's entirely natural, as the band are based around guitarist Robert P, who is Swedish and singer and keyboard player Gemma who is Italian. They met and formed the band in London but now live in France, so you can get an idea of the many varied cultural influences that have a bearing on their sound. In the studio, both Gemma & Robert P compose, write, produce and mix all the tracks and play all of the instruments, although for live shows they either enlist other musicians to help out, or play as an acoustic duo. As well as the new single there are two self-produced EP's available entitled "For The Waves" and "Blue". I am really looking forward to an album from the band, it promises to be a classic. You can keep up to date on all the news by checking out their Travellers In Wonderland Facebook page.

Here's the great video to "74 Times" from the new single.

You can hear the flip-side, "Summer With No Sun", on the brand new Retrosonic Podcast Episode 6.

The 7" vinyl single is available from Casbah Records, The Beehive, 320-322 Creek Road, Greenwich, London. Now, Casbah certainly seems to be an amazing store, unfortunately I haven't been there yet but I am definitely going to visit at the next possible opportunity and will do a more in-depth feature for the Blog soon. Thanks to Gemma and Robert P. for the photographs.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

The Fallen Leaves at The 12 Bar Club January 09th

The Fallen Leaves at the 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
It was my first time at The 12 Bar Club, a place that I'd been meaning to go to for ages and tonight was The Fallen Leaves regular Parliament Club night of "Minimum R&B". The band have held Club nights in a variety of venues for some years now, and as well as giving a chance for smaller bands to play, they have also hosted such luminaries as The Len Price 3, Billy Childish, The Masonics, Downliners Sect, Scarlet's Well, TV Smith and The Priscillas. The venue is located on Denmark Street, London's own historic Tin Pan Alley, a very short street which is packed full of music stores, studios and history. Here of course, is where the Sex Pistols had their rehearsal room and squat, where the Stones recorded their first album and Hendrix and Page did sessions. You can still feel the atmosphere of generations of musicians, hustlers, agents, publishers and songwriters hanging over Denmark Street.  It's an evocative place, and suddenly I felt a pang of sadness as all around this time-capsule of a street, there are major building developments going on. The Tottenham Court Road Cross-Rail work has sadly already put paid to the legendary venue the Astoria over the road, which was a sad loss to the London music scene.

The Fallen Leaves at the 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
Then there's the St. Martins College of Art, the setting for Pulp's "Common People" and which once proudly displayed a blue plaque proclaiming it the location of a legendary Sex Pistols' gig. The college is moving to Kings Cross and the building itself is now surrounded by scaffolding and shrouded in tarpaulin. I fear for Denmark Street, you can almost sense the large oppressive shadow of a heartless and greedy, lip-smacking, hand rubbing property developer looming over the place with a wrecking ball in one hand and a huge wad of cash in the other. The 12 Bar itself is a nicely scuzzy place, a sort of CBGB's-lite, with front and back bars and a very small main room where the bands play. It all looks a bit haphazard, the sort of place that would give a Health 'n' Safety inspector a heart attack, but the sound is surprisingly good once the bands get going. It's all a bit cramped on the small stage, the drummer is squeezed into the back corner, but it does mean you have that rare opportunity of getting all four band members in a photo from very close quarters.

The Fallen Leaves at the 12 Bar Club - Photo by Paul Slattery
The Fallen Leaves were a revelation when I saw them play for the very first time at our Retro Man Blog Night at the Half Moon back in December and I was really keen to see them play again. Tonight, they didn't disappoint and ran through a short sharp set of excellent songs from their two earlier albums along with tracks from their stunning brand new release "If Only We'd Known", which is out now on Parliament Records. "Against The Grain" is probably my highlight of the night with it's super catchy backing vocals, but all the songs have hooks and choruses that stay in your head for days to follow. In a way the band are quintessentially British although there are echoes of raw American garage rock, they are more rooted in the UK's Freakbeat and R 'n' B sounds of The Pretty Things, Downliners Sect and early Who.

Rob Symmons of The Fallen Leaves - Photo by Paul Slattery
But the Britishness is not just apparent in their sound, take this for example: "I like a bit of tweed" says singer Rob Green as he checks a smart gold pocket watch hanging from a chain on his waistcoat. Or this..."We play Punk Rock for gentlemen" while adjusting his cravat, and then there's..."Sponsored by PG Tips" as he languidly pours himself a cup of tea from a flask as the band let loose around him. The bass player might wear shades but he also sports a velvet crimson smoking jacket. It's almost like seeing a band appear in scene in an Ealing Comedy, I was half expecting Terry Thomas to suddenly appear wielding a Fender Stratocaster and chase Ian Carmichael across the stage. And as the great Terry Thomas might proclaim with his cheeky gap-toothed grin, "I say  chaps, what an absolutely splendid band the Fallen Leaves are, don't you know!" We hope to do a special edition Retrosonic Podcast with The Fallen Leaves very soon, where we will show-case their brilliant new album and also chat to the band about their story and music. You can read about the Half Moon gig and see photos and videos HERE. To buy the new album or keep up to date with tour dates and news, visit The Fallen Leaves' official web-site

We played a track by the band on the previous Episode of Retrosonic Podcast, listen to it here...

 With thanks to Rob Green, Rob Symmons and Paul Slattery.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Retrosonic Podcast with Mattias Bärjed of The Soundtrack of Our Lives and Free Fall

I met up with guitarist Mattias Bärjed as he prepared to rehearse for the second night of  The Soundtrack of Our Lives week-long residency at Stockholm's Södra Teatern. The band were to bow out on a high after sixteen years together, playing each of their six albums - along with selected tracks from their B-sides and rarities compilation "A Present From The Past" - on consecutive nights, building up to their last ever performance on Saturday December 22nd.

However, 2013 will see Mattias hit the ground running, as he has already secured a record deal with his new band, Free Fall. The band have just released a brand new single "Power & Volume" on Nuclear Blast Records, with a full length album to follow soon. Mattias talks about how he got Free Fall together with Jan Martens, his bass playing colleague from the Nymphet Noodlers, ex-International Noise Conspiracy drummer Ludwig Dahlberg and singer Kim Fransson. 

Mattias at Slussens by Steve Worrall
Like Ian Person, his fellow guitarist in TSOOL, Mattias has also branched out into writing scores and soundtrack music for movies and TV series such as "Familjen Babajou". In our interview Mattias talks about his work with the acclaimed Director Mikael Marcimain on "Upp Till Kamp" and most recently the movie "Call Girl". Both of these soundtracks have been released on the excellent Razzia Records and are thoroughly recommended. This very special episode of Retrosonic Podcast is soundtracked itself by lots of great music from throughout Mattias' career so I hope you enjoy listening to it. Many thanks to Mattias Bärjed for his time.

You can also listen to special Podcasts with Mattias's ex-Nymphet Noodlers band-mate Mattias Hellberg and his TSOOL colleague Ian Person too. Put together this trilogy of episodes tell a fascinating tale of the genesis of The Soundtrack of Our Lives, its' various off-shoots, the side projects and the important contributors along the way and of course, the future following the band's split...

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Happy New Year & all the best for 2013 from Retro Man Blog!

I'd just like to wish all the Retro Man Blog readers a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2013! I have certainly been overwhelmed by the fantastic response to the Blog, especially as this all just started out as a little hobby to share some of my music photos. I had no idea it would expand into Podcasts and Gig Promotions too, and I have not only had the real privilege to meet and work with some of my favourite musicians but I have also met a good number of inspiring new bands, artists, photographers, fellow-Bloggers, DJ's and extremely kind and helpful people along the way. So, as well as sending out a New Year message, I would also really like to take this opportunity to say a huge "Thank You" to the Retro Man Blog and Retrosonic Podcast team - Photographer Paul Slattery, Adam Donovan and Mayumi - and to all of the contributors and bands and of course all of you that have checked out and supported the Blog. I hope 2013 brings us even more great Rock & Roll....! Cheers! Steve