Thursday 26 September 2013

The Len Price 3: New Album "Nobody Knows" Side 2 Exclusive Track-By-Track Guide by LP3's Glenn Page

The Len Price 3 singer, guitarist and songwriter, Glenn Page, has kindly contributed an exclusive track-by-track guide to their forthcoming, and long-awaited, new album "Nobody Knows" to give you an idea on the background to each of the songs. Here's the low-down on Side 2 of the album...

The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
"Words Won't Come"
This was written after a chance meeting with the mother of my first girlfriend. We would just meet up and snog. I could never think what to say. We would quite often just hold hands in silence - just completely tongue-tied.

"Couldn't Get Much Worse"
This is another one written for Pubmonkey. There's a scene where the lead character is working in a shoe shop and it seemed to me that he feels completely trapped - desperate to get out but unable to do anything about. That was a situation I could really relate to at that time - so the song came quite easily to me.

"Medway Sun"
This is about riding down to the River Medway to a couple of little spots I just like to stand in and take in the Universe. I've had some tough times in the last couple of years and these little trips to the river with my son were like a little refuge from the bad craziness. Now things are a lot better and I like this song because it's like a little premonition that things are going to get better - I just didn't know it at the time.

"Nobody Knows (Reprise)"
Same lyrics as the other one of course. We couldn't decide between which version to put on the album - so we went for both! This version came first. When we started putting together ideas for the album, I had this idea that I wanted to try getting back to a more rough, garage sort of sound with tunes a bit more like our first album. Hence songs like this, Words Won't Come and Billy Mason. Of course, the album didn't turn out quite as I envisaged it - but that's part of the fun of recording.

Steve Huggins & Neil Fromow  - Photo by Paul Slattery
"London Institute"
My late grandfather told me this story about when he was a boy (in the late 20's or early 30's). He went cleaning windows with his uncle Bill. He wasn't sure exactly where it was but it was some medical institution in London. He and his uncle chanced upon a room that had rows and rows of jars stacked on shelves. In these jars were preserved babies. They were all malformed or disfigured and obviously hadn't survived childbirth. This sight deeply affected him and it obviously upset him just thinking about it as he told me. That night, I had a dream about this room full of babies in jars. In my dream, they climbed out of the jars, jumped off the shelf and into little pedal cars. They then pedalled down a corridor and crashed through a big window and flew away into the night sky. I remember feeling quiet excited and thinking it was really funny. Anyway, I was sitting up really late one night. I was drunk and depressed and I just started slurring this one out. I didn't have to think about it - it just came naturally. We had great fun with that middle section. I was trying to be a bit Stockhausen and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop meet Syd Barret era Floyd and the Who.

If you missed Part 1/Side 1 you can check out Glenn's comments here. Retro Man Blog are very pleased to announce that we are putting on the Showcase Party for the long-awaited new album "Nobody Knows" by The Len Price 3 at The Half Moon in Putney on Friday October 25th. Not only will you get to hear some of the songs from the album performed live for the first time, but anyone attending the gig will have the opportunity to buy copies of the album on CD and Vinyl exclusively before the official worldwide release in January 2014. Please note there will be a limited amount on sale on a strictly first come first served basis and due to demand there may be a limit on how many copies each person can buy. So, make sure you book your tickets in advance from The Half Moon at the bargain price of £7.00 to avoid disappointment. Tickets will also be available on the door at £9.00. Support on the night comes from The Fallen Leaves and The Past Tense, and we also hope to announce some special guest appearances in due course. Anyone who has been to one of our Retro Man Blog nights at The Half Moon with The Len Price 3 will know they are very special events, so don't miss this one! You can read a report on last December's show here.

We will also be playing an exclusive unreleased track from the new album in our next episode of Retrosonic Podcast, so please keep a check on the Blog or our Retrosonic Soundcloud page for news.

Advance Tickets for the "Nobody Knows" showcase party can be ordered from the Half Moon here.

With many thanks to Glenn Page. Colour photos copyright Paul Slattery 2013 - Flyer photo copyright Anders Magnusson 2013.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Caviare Days live at Beyond Retro London

Caviare Days outside Beyond Retro - Photo by Steve Worrall
It was great to finally get to catch Caviare Days live after just missing out on seeing them last December when they played at one of the last Soundtrack of Our Lives shows in Stockholm at the Södra Teatern. Today, they were appearing at the Beyond Retro store in Shoreditch as part of the London Fashion Week, which followed a live session and interview on BBC Radio, which you can still catch here. The band will release their next single "Who Deprived You Of Your Smile" very soon, in fact they are just finishing off the video now, so keep a check on their official web-site for news of the release date. The track is taken from their self titled debut album and has been produced by Mats Björke of Mando Diao and Jorge Elbrecht of New York based Violens.

Maja and Lina Westin - Photo by Steve Worrall
On the album, the band mix Sixties Californian Haight-Ashbury Psychedelia with a dash of melodic shimmering dance music to great effect, but live they are a slightly different prospect. With the addition of the excellent guitarist Boris Grubesic, they are far heavier than I was expecting, and the energy was quite electrifying. The band are based around the songwriting sisters Maja and Lina Westin, who share lead vocals and harmonies and of course provide quite a stunning visual impact, bouncing off each other, sometimes quite literally! But the good thing about seeing Caviare Days live is that you quickly realize that they are a "real" band, in fact the sisters don't appear until the guys run through an impressive swelling instrumental opening number. 

Boris Grubesic by Steve Worrall
We mentioned guitarist Boris, who really throws himself into his guitar playing, and with his hair flailing away he reminds me a bit of John Frusciante. Drummer Timmy Grim Fredriksson, who along with Lina and Maja, has been in the band the longest, keeps everything anchored down, he's one of those great drummers who plays along with the nuances of the music, rather than just bashing out a beat. For me though it's the virtuoso keyboard player Marcus Arborelius, who really impresses - switching effortlessly between numerous retro sounds, from Hammond, Vox, Farfisa to synth and piano, he also covers the bass in Ray Manzarek style. In fact it's The Doors that do spring to mind occasionally as the band have a real chemistry together when they lock into a groove which is more of a highly tuned Jazz outfit than an out and out Psychedelic Rock band. This style is pretty well summed up on the excellent new single "Who Deprived You Of Your Smile", which is one of the show's highlights, and the band provide a perfect backdrop for Lina and Maja to strut their stuff. Other stand out tracks include "You'll Qualify", "The Awakening" and of course the superb "When The Light Is Breaking", which was recently remixed by Ebbot Lundberg, the singer with the now sadly defunct Soundtrack of Our Lives.

Timmy Fredriksson by Steve Worrall
Marcus Arborelius by Steve Worrall
Caviare Days in action by Steve Worrall
Here's the video to the Ebbot remix of "When The Light Is Breaking".

We also play a non-album track from Caviare Days in Episode 6 of Retrosonic Podcast, which you can check out here. To keep up to date with news, info and tour dates, please check out the band's web-site. For more photos of the Beyond Retro show, head on over to the Retro Man Blog Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the exclusive photo album. With thanks to Lina, Maja, Timmy, Marcus and Boris, it was a pleasure.

Monday 16 September 2013

Ruts DC at Reading SUB89 by Steve Cotton from Art Of The State

Ruts DC by Steve Cotton
I'm very pleased to welcome Steve Cotton, from one of my favourite web-sites Art Of The State, who has kindly contributed a few words and some excellent photos from the Ruts DC gig at Reading's SUB89 club last Friday. From what I heard and judging by Steve's report, it seemed to be a really great show, and we will be keeping a closer eye on Ruts DC in the future...

"It's a bit of a confession but I'd never seen the Ruts or Ruts DC until last Friday. There, I needed to get that out of the way right at the start. Despite being one of my all time favourite bands I was too young to have seen them before the death of Malcolm Owen and by the early eighties was too into straight down the line UK82 punk to take a chance on Ruts DC. I attempted to rectify this situation in 2007 but failed miserably to get a ticket to the Paul Fox benefit gig. The closest I was getting to the Ruts by this time was listening to DagNasty and Gallows cover versions. Gradually though, I started hearing really good reports about Ruts DC gigs and when an opportunity came up last week to see them at Reading's SUB89 venue I ventured out. Would they live up to my admittedly high expectations?

The band took to the stage with little fanfare and it was immediately apparent that there's now five of them. Drummer Dave Ruffy and John 'Segs' Jennings are joined onstage not only by guitarist Leigh Hegarty, but a female singer and a keyboard player. Kicking off with three decent but mainly reggae numbers had me peering over the monitors to see the rest of the set list. Personal favourite "Backbiter" was up next and didn't disappoint, crunching guitar, thundering bass and rock solid drums. The best known songs of the Ruts then started flowing interspersed with output from the Ruts DC both old and new.

"Mighty Soldier", the opening track of Ruts DC's recently released "Rhythm Collision Volume 2" album sounds particularly fine with it's call for peace as does "Smiling Culture", whose lyrics show nothing much has changed in 30 year in the way we're dealt with by the Police. This is a band that need not rely solely on output from their early years but there's plenty of that too. A mellower version of "Sus", an atmospheric "It Was Cold", "Jah War" and "Love In Vein" are all delivered in style, often with accompanying spoken intros. The Ruts singles are played with passion and the crowd react accordingly. There's plenty of jostling during "Staring At The Rude Boys" and "Babylon's Burning" but the truly standout song was the set closer "In a Rut", which meshes both punk and reggae together. It provides the perfect opportunity for the band, and in particular guitarist Lee, to up the ante and the group leave the stage at the perfect point. We're all very satisfied but we still want more. That'll just have to wait until next time...

To keep up to date with Ruts DC news, info and tour dates please visit their official web-site. Guitarist Leigh Hegarty also does a thoroughly entertaining Blog/Tour Diary entitled "Leigh's Mad World of Guitars", which is well worth checking out. 

Please do take a look at Steve's excellent Art Of The State web-site, as he photographs, not only the underground Punk scene, but also specializes in some excellent pictures of London. From the familiar tourist sights to Art Deco architecture, from churches and monuments to football stadiums and art galleries, he covers everything with a truly artistic eye. Steve also gets into the hidden corners of the East End and the street art and graffiti scenes, and these pictures are particularly interesting and in complete contrast to the more familiar sights of the Capital.

You can read a report on the legendary 2007 Paul Fox benefit concert on the Blog here.

With many thanks to Steve. All photos copyright Steve Cotton Artofthestate 2013.

Friday 13 September 2013

The Len Price 3 "Nobody Knows" Exclusive New Album Cover Art and Track-By-Track Guide by LP3's Glenn Page

Retro Man Blog are very pleased to announce that we are putting on the Showcase Party for the long-awaited new album "Nobody Knows" by The Len Price 3 at The Half Moon in Putney on Friday October 25th. Not only will you get to hear some of the songs from the album performed live for the first time, but anyone attending the gig will have the opportunity to buy copies of the album on CD and Vinyl exclusively before the official worldwide release in January 2014. Please note there will be a limited amount on sale on a strictly first come first served basis, and due to demand there may be a limit on how many copies each person can buy, so make sure you book your tickets in advance from The Half Moon at the bargain price of £7.00 to avoid disappointment. Tickets will also be available on the door at £9.00. Support on the night comes from The Fallen Leaves and The Past Tense, and we also hope to announce some special guest appearances and competitions in due course. Anyone who has been to one of our Retro Man Blog nights at The Half Moon with The Len Price 3 will know they are very special events, so don't miss this one! You can read a report on last December's show here.

The Len Price 3 singer, guitarist and songwriter, Glenn Page, has kindly contributed an exclusive track-by-track guide to the new album to give you an idea on the background to each of the songs. Glenn starts off with Side 1 of the album with Side 2 to follow very soon...

Glenn Page from The Len Price 3 - Photo by Paul Slattery
"Nobody Knows"
One day recently, I went riding my bike round the streets where I used to live when I was a boy. I came to this house. It's a 1970's semi. The garden was really overgrown and the house was really tatty - yellowing net curtains, paint peeling off the windowsills and the doors. There was a storm brewing and it felt like a place where bad things would happen - and they did. When I was a kid, there was a boy that lived there called Michael. He lived with his mum and dad. He didn't really fit in with the other kids and was slightly eccentric. Anyway, when we were about 10 or something, he died. Choked on his lunch. His poor mother took to the drink and ended up in a bit of a state. You'd see her staggering down the street naked, carrying a bottle of vodka and screaming her head off. At some point, it all got too much and she killed herself. Her husband came home from work one day to find her swinging from a rope. I don't know what became of the old man. As I was remembering this, the melody and the words just came to me as I rode home.

"Swing Like A Monkey"
This is the title song from the forthcoming film "Pubmonkey". The film is the brainchild of our friend Jamie O'Hara. It's about a drunken layabout who gets caught up in a drug deal that goes wrong. Jamie gave me a copy of the script. I read it and laughed out loud a lot so I knew we had to do something for it. The song just came to me after reading the script.

"My Grandad Jim"
My maternal grandfather was an ordinary bloke who, like a lot of blokes of his generation were forced to do extraordinary things. He was in the 8th Army in World War 2 and saw some pretty hefty action - El Alamein and the D-Day landings among them. I was fascinated by his stories, turns of phrase and the things he knew and I'm still fixated. I had plenty of heroes when I was a kid - Spiderman, Glenn Hoddle, Indiana Jones, but no one could top my Grandad. Better than some prissy footballer or a geezer in a colourful skin-tight cat suit any day! When we recorded this I wanted it to be a bit like the sound I remember getting when I was in my first band, aged about 16 and we would record ourselves playing with a cassette recorder. I wanted to recapture the excitement, energy and roughness of us trying to be like Jimi Hendrix.

The Len Price 3 in action - Photo by Paul Slattery
This is about someone I used to work with who was hideously bitter and used to love making people's lives difficult. Mainly because she was so unhappy herself.

"Preying Mantis"
This is about a woman who stalks a bloke in order to conceive a child and then bins him off. It's not really about anyone in particular but it's inspired by a few real life stories involving people I know.

I wrote this one about the way in which a death in the family can bring out the worst in people. Folks who never had any interest in the deceased when they were alive suddenly become really interested when they can smell the money. I've known whole families split apart over it - usually over who gets what in the will. Horrible.

"Billy Mason"
My paternal grandfather passed away about 3 years ago. Shortly before he died, he told me a couple of stories - both of which have found their way into songs. This is about somebody called William Mason. My granddad served his apprenticeship as a panel beater under William's tutelage at the Shorts Aircraft factory in Rochester - making Sunderland Flying Boats and Stirling bombers. Mr Mason turned out to be a pretty remarkable bloke. When the war broke out, he built a plane in his house. It had folding wings so it would fit in his back room or whatever. The idea was he would wheel it outside, clip the wings in place and fly up to take on the Luftwaffe. According to local legend, men from the air ministry turned up to copy his design for the folding wings on carrier aircraft - for which he never saw a penny. He and Mrs Mason were spiritualists and spent much of their time contacting the dead. Their son was shot down in a bombing raid over Germany during the war. After being told he was missing presumed dead, their contacts on the other side told them he was alive and well. As it turned out, he was - having parachuted to safety, he spent the rest of the war as POW. After the war, he moved to the US where he designed doors for Chrysler or someone.

"Wigmore Swingers"
Where I grew up, there was a thin veneer of respectability spread across the estate that masked a lot of unpleasantness. In this little corner of Thatcher's Britain, Policeman, Accountants and Bankers were busy getting their grubby mits on each others' wives and husbands. Kids were locked away so that these horrible people could shag each other. I watched this as a kid, slightly dumbfounded.

We will also be playing an exclusive unreleased track from the new album in our next episode of Retrosonic Podcast, so please keep a check on the Blog or our Retrosonic Soundcloud page for news.
Advance Tickets for the "Nobody Knows" showcase party can be ordered from the Half Moon here.

With thanks to Glenn Page, who will be running through the tracks on Side 2 for the Blog very soon.

Colour photos copyright Paul Slattery 2013 - Flyer photo copyright Anders Magnusson 2013.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

The Clash - Black Market Clash Pop-Up Store Opening Party

Mick Jones by Paul Slattery
Last Friday, we went along to the opening of the new Black Market Clash "Pop-Up" store on Berwick Street in Soho and were very impressed with the range of memorabilia on display. Set up with the intention to promote the brand new "Sound System" ghetto blaster box set, and yet another Greatest Hits compilation, the store avoids being a tacky record company marketing ploy by heavily involving the three surviving band members in all aspects of the design and content. So, fans are treated to a superb collection of memorabilia from the band's own personal archives, much of which has never been on display before, so it is well worth a visit for any fan of The Clash. There are a selection of photos, record sleeves and gig posters. My highlights were the famous paint splattered boiler suits, the "Combat Rock" military stage gear, Joe Strummer's typewriter and handwritten lyric sheets and set lists and his "Ignore Alien Orders" guitar. But the real jewel in the crown is Paul Simonon's smashed up bass, last seen taking a battering in Pennie Smith's iconic cover of "London Calling".

So, onto the opening night party and in attendance were Mick Jones, Paul Simonon and Topper Headon along with an impressive cast of Clash family members, friends and personalities including Johnny Green, their old road manager and author of "A Riot of Our Own", Ray Jordan, their trusty bodyguard, "Stay Free" inspiration Robin Banks, DJ Don Letts, "Rude Boy" star and DJ Ray Gange, "London Calling" cover and "The Clash: Before and After" photographer Pennie Smith, ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes, the excellent author and music journalist Kris Needs, Gaz Mayall from Gaz's Rockin' Blues club and The Trojans, Carl Barat from The Libertines, ex-Sex Pistol Glen Matlock, Punk Poet John Cooper Clarke, "The Clash: Passion Is a Fashion" author Pat Gilbert and Joe Strummer's "Redemption Song" biographer Chris Salewicz amongst others. Then, there was  also a smattering of other celebrities such as comedian Harry Enfield, TV presenter Jonathan Ross, DJ Nick Grimshaw and actress Sadie Frost.

Paul Simonon and ex-Pistol Glen Matlock by Paul Slattery
My Retro Man Blog colleague, photographer Paul Slattery, who worked closely with The Clash, has one of his photos of the band in Paris on display and one on the cover of the reprint of the "Armagideon Times" magazine included in the "Sound System" box-set. He has also kindly contributed some of his photos of the opening night party along with some rare shots of the band in their prime. Paul Slattery explains: "Here's Paul Simonon and "Pressure" at the Orpheum Boston 19/09/79. Probably one of the last photos of it being played, as two days later it was smashed by Paul at The Palladium in New York, and the ensuing image taken by Pennie Smith was immortalised on the front cover of "London Calling"."

And here's the smashed up bass on display...


Here's Joe's "Ignore Alien Orders" 1966 Fender Telecaster guitar on display.

"Joe and "Ignore Alien Orders" at the Roxy Harlesden on 25/10/78. Joe's favourite guitar".

Here are some more of Paul Slattery's excellent photos from the opening night.

The Black Market Clash Store
Ray Jordan and Johnny Green
Memorabilia including a Paul Slattery photo from the Mogador Paris 25/09/81
Don Letts & John Cooper Clarke
Comedian Harry Enfield with Paul Simonon
Flight cases and speakers on display
Photographs above are strictly copyright Paul Slattery 2013 and cannot be reproduced or copied without prior consent. Paul Slattery has two photography books published by Omnibus Press entitled "Oasis: A Year On The Road" and "The Smiths: The Early Years". You can hear Paul talk about his early experiences as a music photographer in our Retrosonic Podcast specials, and we hope to be covering his time spent with The Clash in a future episode.

Paul Simonon with photographer Paul Slattery - Photo by Steve Worrall
The Black Market Clash Pop-Up Store can be found at 75 Berwick Street, Soho, London, it's opposite Sister Ray Records and is open Mon-Sat 12-8pm and Sundays 11am-5pm until September 22nd. It has been curated by Robert Gordon McHargh III from the Subway Gallery (Joe Strummer Underpass, Edgware Road), who previously hosted Mick Jones' superb "Rock 'n' Roll Public Library" collection, which you can read about on the Blog here.

For more photos, please head on over to the Retro Man Facebook page and hit "Like" for access to the photo album.

Monday 9 September 2013

The Flamin' Groovy Podcast with Chris Wilson of The Flamin' Groovies & The Barracudas

Steve from Retro Man Blog and Rock Photographer Paul Slattery welcome Chris Wilson, singer, songwriter and guitarist with the legendary, and recently re-formed, Flamin' Groovies. Chris takes us on a journey from his early teens watching and being inspired by some of the great Blues musicians in Massachusetts to LA and San Francisco where he joined up with Mike Wilhelm, guitarist and vocalist with 60's Psychedelic trailblazers The Charlatans, in his new band Loose Gravel. Chris then comes to the attention of The Flamin' Groovies and joins the band who would go on to be responsible for some of the most iconic rock classics ever recorded such as "Slow Death" and "Shake Some Action". The Flamin' Groovies never quite made the breakthrough to commercial success, but remain a huge influence on Power Pop and Punk bands alike. Chris also covers his time  recording with Dave Edmunds, playing with Garage Surf outfit The Barracudas, meeting Ringo Starr and not to mention seeing photographer Paul Slattery again for the first time in 35 years! In this candid and amusing story, Chris also picks out some of his influences, favourite songs and highlights from his own back catalogue including a track from his excellent brand new album "It's Flamin' Groovy!" which is out now!

The Flamin' Groovies at The Scala (L/R) George, Cyril and Chris - Photo by Paul Slattery
To order "It's Flamin' Groovy" and keep up to date with news on Chris and his solo work, please visit his official web-site For news on The Flamin' Groovies please check out their official Facebook page. Here's the Podcast which is available to download free from our Soundcloud site. I hope you enjoy listening...

With sincere thanks to Chris Wilson on behalf of myself and Paul Slattery. Thanks to Paul for the Photo (copyright Paul Slattery 2013).

Sunday 8 September 2013

Marie Modiano - Two New Albums "Ram On A Flag" and "Espérance Mathématique" & Debut Novel released on September 30th.

Marie Modiano by Julien Bourgeois
Marie Modiano, the Paris based singer, songwriter, poet (and now author), will be very busy on September 30th as she simultaneously releases two brand new albums "Ram On A Flag" and "Espérance Mathématique" and her debut novel "Upsilon Scorpii" all on the same day! I saw Marie perform as part of a special Scandinavian weekend event at La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris last year and was captivated by her performance. I snapped up a copy of her album "Outland" at the merchandise stand and although it has since become one of my favourite albums of recent years, it was slightly disappointing that so many of the great songs she played that night were actually new and unreleased at the time. But now the long wait to hear those songs recorded is finally over and we also get the bonus of the second album too. The Event in Paris was curated by Swedish Singer-Songwriter Peter von Poehl and orchestrated by Martin Hederos, who not only appeared on stage with his own band, The Soundtrack of Our Lives, but also with Marie and Peter too. Equally as busy was the excellent drummer Ludwig Dahlberg (ex-International Noise Conspiracy and Mattias Hellberg's White Moose) who played brilliantly during Marie and Peter's sets and then rocked out with his band Free Fall. You can read a report and check out photos of that great weekend on the Blog here.

So, onto the new albums and Marie Modiano is once again reunited with Martin Hederos and Peter von Poehl on the English language "Ram on a Flag", which follows on perfectly from "Outland". With lyrics and music by Marie except on three tracks which are co-written with Peter von Poehl, the album was recorded at various studios in Sweden and features Marie on vocals and piano, Peter von Poehl on guitar and vocals, Martin Hederos on piano and organ, Christoffer Lundquist on bass and saxophone, Jens Jansson played drums and percussion and Thomas Ebrelius on violin and viola. Just like its predecessor "Outland", the album is a stunningly orchestrated piece that is organic and uncluttered and has a slight tinge of melancholy. Similar to Martin's old Soundtrack of Our Lives colleague Björn Olsson's current solo music, "Ram on a Flag" is extremely evocative of a coastal landscape, you can almost hear the sounds of seagulls and fishing trawlers heading off into a beautiful sunset. The lyrical subjects of "The Islands and The Skerries" and the stunning "Long Journey on a Rock-Pool Train", with it's swelling gospel choir backing vocals, reinforces that coastal atmosphere even further. My favourite track on the album is "New Wings of Mine", which would make a great choice as a single, and features some seriously impressive, almost Jon Entwistle style bass. "Paper Boots" is a great duet with Peter von Poehl, who also shares vocals on "Shutters of Sand" which is an epic track that builds nicely to a crescendo. The album ends with "Twilight Rhapsody", a beatifully simple piano based song that highlights Martin's admiration for Erik Satie and would be appeal to those that appreciated Soundtrack of Our Lives "Tonight". So, "Ram on a Flag" is a really impressive follow up to "Outland" and thoroughly recommended if you enjoy the orchestral side of The Soundtrack of Our Lives, David Sylvian's more accessible work, Kate Bush and other similar emotionally engaging music.

The second album "Espérance Mathématique" is a collection of Marie's poems put to music by Peter von Poehl and was recorded and mixed in Paris. It's a spoken word album with Marie reciting her poems in French over music performed by Ludwig Dahlberg on drums, Nicolas Mathuriau on percussion, with the string section of Zach Miskin and Marielle de Rocca Serra. All other instruments are by Peter von Poehl and the string arrangements are by Martin Hederos. Of course, my understanding of the album, if not my enjoyment, is hampered somewhat by my not speaking French, so I cannot appreciate the poems themselves, but I can certainly enjoy the wonderful delivery from Marie and of course the music itself. What springs to mind first of all are the two great Serge Gainsbourg concept albums "Histoire de Melody Nelson" and it's more musically diverse follow up, "L’Homme à tête de chou". So, an impressive double hit of albums from Marie, with both complimenting each other perfectly.

Marie with Martin Hederos & Peter von Poehl, Paris 2012 - Steve Worrall
Marie Modiano is the daughter of French author Patrick Modiano and originally started out as an actress, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and appearing in films such as "La Vie Privée". She then began peforming as a singer with a folk-jazz-pop group that included Grégoire Hetzel (piano), Daniel Yvinec (bass), and Arnaud Lechantre (drums). In collaboration with Hetzel as her producer and co-writer, she released her full-length debut album in 2006 on Naïve Records entitled "I'm Not a Rose", which included the single "C'est dur l'Amour". She then collaborated with Peter von Poehl and Martin Hederos on her 2008 follow up, "Outland", some of which was recorded at Svenska Grammofon Studion, the Gothenburg based studio run by Kalle Gustafsson from The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Then in 2012 l’Arbalète/Gallimard published a book of Marie's poems "Espérance Mathématique", on which the new album of the same name is based.

Martin Hederos, Marie Modiano, Ludwig Dahlberg, Paris 2012 by Steve Worrall
The albums "Ram On A Flag" and "Espérance Mathématique" are both released on September 30th by Nest and Sound Records and on the same day, Marie Modiano's first novel "Upsilon Scorpii" is published by l’Arbalète/Gallimard.

With many thanks to Damien Besançon at Laitdbac Records and Ludwig Dahlberg.

Nervous Twitch "This Modern World" E.P.

Initially forming in 2011 with the now lead vocalist and bassist, the pink haired Erin Van Rumble, on the drums, Nervous Twitch have undergone a number of line-up changes before establishing the current line up in early 2013. Inspired by a shared love of the Ramones and other 70s punk bands, 60s girl group such as the The Ronettes through to modern North American Garage Punk acts such as Nobunny. Nervous Twitch create short sharp contagious pop songs crammed with hooks and memorable melodies. Nervous Twitch released "Bad Reputation" their 1st E.P. at the beginning of 2013. Made up of tracks recorded the previous year, featuring previous band members and Erin on drums, the "Bad Reputation" E.P. used lo-fi production to good effect and featured 5 catchy, garage punk numbers most of which remain in the live set today. In June 2013 the band released "This Modern World", with a fuller sound the band continued to experiment with their songwriting style whilst maintaining their pop sensibilities. Nervous Twitch have already played with the likes of 'Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds, Thee Spivs, Thee Bat and Dan Sartain and continue to entertain audiences with their own unique brand of Rock 'n' Roll at nights up and down the UK. With a more settled line up and some releases under their belt the band continue to work on new material covering a number of styles from Punk, Garage, New Wave and Pop.

Nervous Twitch are an unsigned four piece from Leeds who deliver short, sharp bursts of garage punk. The influence of bands like The Ramones is recognisable throughout their songs and none more so than on "Bad Reputation". It definitely has the retro feel of the 70’s punk era without being copycat and the chorus is really catchy and you find yourself singing along to it before the end. Riffs on songs such as "You Soon Found Out" and "You Don’t Matter No More" continue in the same ilk. However there is also a reminder of bands like the Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster in some of the bass lines. All the songs come in around the two minute mark and are fast paced all the way through. Impropoganda Blog Spot June 2011
Nervous Twitch have since re-recorded this EP of songs with more skill, and a bigger budget, but this still bears your consideration. There’s something I find charming about hearing them not exactly have the best handle on the songs yet. There’s piss and vinegar to give it the right kick, but no one quite owns the songs yet. "You Don’t Matter No More" and "You Soon Found Out" prove this is a band that has what most every other band lacks, SONGWRITERS who can turn a memorable phrase. "Shake of the Damned" is sexy and fun bit of an organ grind. Nervous Twitch have been blessed with a memorable name, great hooks and now as their musical skills improve with leaps and bounds they make it seem easy. This name your own price release is the perfect background noise for keeping that neighbour you can’t stand awake. Indie Music for the Unaffiliated March 2013

Aside from having a great freaking name, they write memorable music that feels dirty enough for it to be fun. This latest E.P. "This Modern World" is no exception. NT do their best to be Mods with the title track and “Baby, I’m Bored” by inking songs Ray Davies wishes he’d written. There’s a jittery agitated, over-caffinated feel to the band's performances, add to that the jangly guitars and it just makes you wanna move. “You Ask Me Why” is a perfect example of this affected combination. Even the closing instrumental, “Stuck in the Mud,” starts with a sinister enough guitar tone, but the high trebly melody line feels like a Mod spy soundtrack circa 1966 and baby, it is intoxicating.

Here's the video to the great title track of their new E.P. "This Modern World"

You can check out more information on the band, including upcoming tour dates, at their official web-site and download their music at their Bandcamp site. Thanks to Jay.

Dot Dash "Half Remembered Dream" New Album Out Now

"Half-Remembered Dream" is the third Dot Dash album released in less than two years. This follows 2012's "Winter Garden Light and "spark>flame>ember>ash" which was released in September 2011, all on The Beautiful Music, the Ottawa based indie label that has been issuing underground pop records for more than 10 years. For the new album the Washington D.C. based quartet traveled north to neighboring Baltimore, where "Half-Remembered Dream" was recorded at Lord Baltimore Studios. As before, there’s a persistent thread of melancholy running through Dot Dash’s ringing, intense, melodic pop, but it takes on a variety of forms. Amidst jangling, wistful guitars, contrasted by often thunderous bass and drums, "Half-Remembered Dream" is, by turns, energetic, plaintive, and punky. Dot Dash play live frequently and has shared recent bills with Ash, The Drums, The Bats, The Monochrome Set, and Glen Matlock, among many others. I think this is my favourite of the three Dot Dash albums and I would thoroughly recommend it for lovers of intelligent, melodic and emotional guitar music. They have echoes of that wonderful late seventies/early eighties period of The Cure, Psychedelic Furs and Wire but mixed up with the beautifully textured and intricate guitar work of early R.E.M., Dream Syndicate and Long Ryders.

The Band line-up is: Terry Banks – guitar & voice; Bill Crandall – guitar; Hunter Bennett – bass; Danny Ingram – drums. "Half-Remembered Dream" is available as a CD directly from The Beautiful Music’s PayPal-enabled ordering site at and is also available as a download via iTunes, Bandcamp, eMusic, and Amazon. You can check out more info on Dot Dash at their official Facebook page here:

Here's a taster from the album and the great opening track "(Here's to) The Ghosts of The Past"...

Dick Venom & The Terrortones "Invasion Of The Spider Queen" New 7" Single Out on September 09th

Tomorrow, September 09th, Dick Venom & The Terrortones unleash their brand new 7" Vinyl Single and download on Jailhouse Morgue Records entitled "Invasion of The Spider Queen/Planet of The Honeyfuzz". It's a glorious slice of sleazy primal Rock 'n' Roll that chews up no end of Trashy genres and references and spits them out in their own inimitable style. In a way they remind me of Jonny Cola & The A-Grades in the fact that are taking theatrical Glam, with a slightly seedy underbelly, and twisting it into a thoroughly modern sound that blazes a colourful and exciting trail through the current alternative music scene. From the misleading Doo-Wop harmonies of the title track which are rudely ripped aside by a blast of guitar and thundering bass, powered along on a massive riff as big as the giant spiders that are chasing Dick throughout the song. "Planet of The Honeyfuzz" has another trademark bass riff, something that I really love about the band, and Dick's impressively twisted monster crooning is at it's best, almost making Lux Interior seem like Aled Jones! But although it's The Cramps and early 80's Psychobilly of The Meteors and Sting-Rays that remain the Terrortones blueprint, there is a far heavier Rockier influence that conjures up the tongue in cheek antics of Zodiac Mindwarp and Monster Magnet and again pushes the boundaries of those pesky genres.

Here's some other comments on the band...

“The true future sound of Rockabilly/Psychobilly return with their sharpest, most playful and most deliciously sleazy single to date". (Penny Black Music)

"In the cool snarl and croon of Dick Venom’s vocals and the hard punch-drunk crunch of Wrex St.Clair’s bass, and with Hurricane Valley and SugarBeats on-side (guitar/drums respectively), imagine The Cramps, Stray Cats, New York Dolls, The Damned, or the Ramones souls stolen and reincarnated in Psychobilly”. (Rock The North).

"For just over three years Dick Venom & Co. have toured the UK alongside The Meteors, Bad For Lazarus, Demented Are Go and Vince Ripper (ex-Alien Sex Fiend), serving up slices of “irresistible, hypnotic and honest graveyard rock ‘n’ roll” (Ringmaster Reviews) in “hedonistic, hot-rod three-minute anthems” (Steve Beebee).

You can download the single from iTunes or Amazon or order the 7" (complete with comic book) from the band's official web-site or Jailhouse Morgue Records.

We played Dick Venom on the very first Retrosonic Podcast which you can check out here...

Saturday 7 September 2013

The Rousers "Playing the Rock and Roll For You"

The Rousers, the Power Pop trio with a true New York Punk pedigree, have been rocking NYC since their first gig at CBGB in 1977. As one of the house bands at Max's Kansas City, they had the opportunity to perform with many of the headliners of the day, including The Troggs, The Dead Boys, as well as a classic New Year's Eve show with Robert Gordon. That night, The Rousers were joined on stage by David Johansen as well as Lenny Kaye and Chris Spedding. They became headliners in their own right, enjoying great gigs with many fine bands and venues. Their last show at Max's before it closed featured an upcoming young woman as an opening act who went by the name of Madonna. While headlining shows all over the northeast, The Rousers released only one single,"Party Boy", on Jimboco records. This Wayne Kramer-produced single was favorably reviewed in the New York Times. As the years went by the band changed names and some members over time, but everyone who knew of them from the old scene still referred to them as The Rousers, so The Rousers they remain. The Rousers have released a new album entitled "Playing The Rock And Roll For You". It is available from all the usual outlets and is quite the rocking collection. These are new recordings and remakes of a couple of their old "hits", as well as a stirring rendition of the Troggs' "With A Girl Like You".  Here's a little taster of some tracks from the album...enjoy!

You can download the album "Playing The Rock and Roll For You" from iTunes and get more info on the band at their official Rousers web-site.

Thursday 5 September 2013

Eel Pie Island "The British Beat Explosion" Exhibition

I went along to an excellent exhibition about the musical heritage of Eel Pie Island, at the Stables Gallery in Orleans House, Twickenham, and it turned out to be a fascinating look at the importance of this tiny Island in the River Thames, which along with Richmond's Crawdaddy and Windsor's Ricky-Tick Club, played a vital part in British Jazz, Rock 'n' Roll, Beat and Rhythm & Blues history. There are many interesting exhibits and displays of memorabilia, posters and photographs charting the various high profile acts associated with "Eelpiland" - as it was known - from George Melly, Alexis Korner and Chris Barber to the Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Pink Floyd, Downliners Sect and many other acts. The Who were another band closely linked with the Island, so much so in fact that Pete Townshend named his publishing company and recording studio after the Island, and even his official web-site is entitled The Eel Pie Hotel is long gone, burned down in a mysterious fire in 1971, only to be re-built as a block of apartments, and nowadays the Island itself is mainly home to a boat-yard and a slightly Bohemian collection of Artist's studios. However local Indie band The Mystery Jets do have their recording studio there, and local pub the Cabbage Patch hosts special Eel Pie Club nights, so the Island's connection with music still continues to this day.

I also picked up a really nice little book that has been published to coincide with the exhibition entitled "The British Beat Explosion: Rock 'n' Roll Island" and co-written by the excellent music journalist and biographer Zoe Howe (Wilko Johnson, The Slits, Jesus & Mary Chain etc) and Michele Whitby. The book tells the story of Eel Pie Island's musical heritage and features lots of great photos throughout.

The Eel Pie Island Exhibition is in Stables Gallery at Orleans House on Riverside, Twickenham TW1 3DY and runs until September 29th, so if you are in the area please do pop along to have a look, and check out the excellent web-site for details on how to get there and opening hours.

Here are some photographs of my visit to the exhibition.

 All Photos (except book cover) Copyright Retro Man Blog 2013.