Sunday, 27 September 2009

Baskery - Live In Texas

This is a montage of Baskery, performing a two hour set at the 'Luckenbach Festival' in Texas, U.S.A (more info here.. Those three Swedish sisters look like they rocked the locals with their high tempo punky take on American country and roots music. What a cracking venue for a chilled out gig, taking in the vibes in the sun with a cool beer in your hand, all set against the backdrop of what looks like the local store from 'The Little House On The Prairie' It looks like a good time was had by all...

Many thanks to Matt Bynum for alerting me to his handiwork, it makes a pleasant change to see a nifty bit of film footage of a band, that's smoothly shot, high res and jolly smartly edited, rather than the usual shaky grainy mobile murky view of the backs of people's heads, which is unfortunately the norm on YouTube these days.

Baskery - Selected highlights - live at Luckenbach Texas on September 5 2009.

Directed by Matt Bynum, check out his camerawork at mattbynumfilms

Gig List

Baskery are coming the end of a long year of international touring, so American and U.K fans, you have missed your chance to catch them this time round, but the hoedown continues to roll out in Denmark!
Oct 14 2009 Heming, Denmark Fermaten
Oct 15 2009 Kolding, Denmark Godset
Oct 16 2009 Esbjerg, Denmark Tobakken
Oct 17 2009 Grenaa, Denmark Pavillionen
Oct 18 2009 Odense, Denmark Dexter

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Slow Club and First Aid Kit Live Review

Acts: Slow Club, First Aid Kit, Wise Children, Jojo and Patch
Location: Southampton, U.K
Venue: The Joiners
Date: 16/09/09

Jojo and Patch, it's a name that evokes an image of a perplexing children's animation from Eastern Europe featuring a malevolent clown and his organ grinding monkey chum! (this sort of thing was a regular feature on the schedules of The B.B.C back in the Seventies and was responsible for warping the fragile young minds of many susceptible children of my generation) Jojo or Patch, for I never worked out which one was he, opened up the evening's entertainment with a gentle set of songs. He has a pleasing understated singing voice that recalls a Damien Rice or Bill Callahan from Smog.

It restored my faith in listening to sensitive singer songwriter types, after witnessing a horrific open mic night earlier in the year, when I was on holiday earlier in the summer. A procession of gauche young men attempted to sing along in a Jack Johnson crossed with Kurt Cobain style to their bedsit penned ditties to the groaning drinkers/audience. I swear, at one point, one aspiring James Blunt slunk off stage with tears in his eyes, mumbling apologies for being so bad, having cleared the pub of punters during his brief stint.

No such problems for our man though, who kept the sprinkling of punters onboard with a stirring strum through a handful of his compositions plus a cover version (Tom McCrae?) Patch or Jojo joined his compadre onstage for the final part of their set, it helped by having an extra guitarist to fill out the sound and hinted at the potential that could really bear fruit as they develop. All in all, it was good mojo for Jojo and worth keeping an eye (patch) on.

Jojo and Patch - Don't Hang Your Head - Live at The Joiners 16/09/09

Next up were local indie folksters Wise Children, so far, they have a solitary eponymous self released four song E.P to their name, but they have recently signed up to Oxford based indie label Vacuous Pop.

They have recently evolved from being a moniker for singer/songwriter Robin Warren-Adamson's project, into a full blown band. The blurb quotes influences such as Nick Drake, Frightened Rabbit, Efterklang, Sigur Ros and Bon Iver, which tick all the right boxes to my mind.

A nice little interview of the band can be read here! and according to the BBC website featured here, they wanted to capture an earthy sound, so recorded one of the songs from the E.P in a Southampton cinema... well, I listened hard for the familiar background noises emanating from our local multiplex of constant effing and jeffing, mobile ring tones going off and occasional fights breaking out in the aisles, but all I could hear was beautifully crafted sweet songs, with just a hint of menace creeping out in the underbelly of the lyrics! The signature track for Wise Children is the heart melting 'I Found Her In The Bath' yes you guessed it, recorded in a bath!

The guys looked nervous as kittens as they coughed up some fur balls of folk that have a lovely indie texture. The photogenic foursome combine to produce electro acoustic guitar heavy harmonic folk rock and have within their ranks, a front man with enough charisma about him, to give the guys something very promising to build upon. It transpired that this was their first gig in their current line up, which explained, the slightly awkward pauses for tuning etc. Give 'em six months to iron out the rough edges and Wise Children could be a very promising proposition.

The venue filled out and expectations grew considerably with the arrival of First Aid Kit fresh from a End of the Road festival performance and a precursor to a short tour of the U.K with Fanfarlo. Regular Scratchy readers will be aware of our appreciation in previous postings of the musical talents of these two Swedish sisters, Klara and Johanna Soderberg and so there was much anticipation to hear the duo in action. I think that this was the first exposure to First Aid Kit for the majority of the audience, but I got the distinct impression that most of them perked up very quickly and were well on the way to being converted by the final song.

As far as I remember, the set list included (In The Morning) My Daddio?, Our Own Pretty Ways, Your Not Coming Home Tonight, Jagadamba You Might, Tangerine, Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, The Universal Soldier and finishing with I'm In Love With The King (Disclaimer I must remember to make a more accurate record of these things at the time and not a week later so accuracy cannot be guaranteed)

The extended touring schedule has really paid dividends as the girls put in a polished performance exuding confidence in their material and their ability to deliver it with panache. Sometimes, one has to remind yourself that these siblings are still in the early stages of their career as their voices combine so effectively and they will in time, mature in their singing and songwriting skills. It's exciting to think that hopefully there's so much more to come, a musical Médecins Sans Frontières for your ears!

First Aid Kit - Hard Believer - produced by Varelsen
out on the 05/10/09 along with the new song 'Waltz for Richard' on Wichita Recordings

You know, when it comes to "getting it" with certain bands you sometimes just have to go out and see a them do their thang in the right setting, then it all clicks into place. Slow Club are one of these bands, with a reputation has been steadily growing and have been bubbling up to the boil on the blogosphere cooker for awhile now, yet investigations in the Scratchy kitchen have been rather tardy up to now, so this was a great opportunity to see what the fuss was about.

Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor are a compelling indie double act, they go together like strawberries and cream or Morecambe and Wise. The in-between song banter might be reminiscent of Jack and Vera Duckworth raiding the cocktail cabinet and getting sloshed on "a long slow comfortable folk up against the wall" at times, but make no mistake, this duo are serious about making punchy frantic organic indie pop songs and when Rebecca is beating the hell out of her drums, as Charles is thrashing out those guitar riffs, the image of a folk tinged White Stripes is absorbing and exhilarating to witness.

Some good snaps of the the main band's performance on the evening can be seen here...
Slow Club photos Fortunately, Platterhorn and I just about avoided being caught on film, with all the 'lowering the cool count' consequences that this would have entailed!

Slow Club - Trophy Room - video directed by Peter Ohs
Track taken from the 2009 debut album 'Yeah So' out on Moshi Moshi Records. buy it here

Slow Club On Tour

25/09/09 - Tunbridge, GB (Wells Forum)
26/09/09 - Glasgow, GB (The Classic Grand)
27/09/09 - Aberdeen, GB (Tunnels)
29/09/09 - Leeds, GB (Brudenell)
30/09/09 - York, GB (City Screen)
01/10/09 - Derby, GB (Rockhouse)
02/10/09 - Wolverton, GB (Milton Keynes Craufurd Arms)
03/10/09 - Reading, GB (South Street)
06/10/09 - Manchester, GB (Moholive)
07/10/09 - Wrexham, GB (Central Station)
08/10/09 - Kingston, GB (McLusky's)
09/10/09 - Crewe, GB (The Box)
10/10/09 - Bath, GB (Moles)

A useful review of the evening's events can be found here

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Matt Bauer - As She Came Out Of The Water

Purveyor of spine tingling Americana music, Matt Bauer is dusting down his banjo, packing the throat lozenges and heading out on an extensive tour of the U.S.A and France (No mention of the U.K at the moment but if we ask nicely, perhaps he'll stop by)

I first wrote about the brooding banjo maestro here back in August 2008 and again during my 12 Grooves of Christmas awarding him a prodigious "Scratchy Seal of Approval" for 2008.

If you were blown away by Bon Iver's 2007 album For Emma, Forever Ago and let's face it, most of the music blogging behemoth were drooling over this last year, including myself, you'll be just as impressed by Matt's earthy approach to creating atmospheric haunting folk tunes. I always like the way he manages to respectfully nod towards his American musical roots in his songwriting, without being overly reverential, thus ensuring his music has a timeless quality to it. For a big grizzly bear of a man, he produces an intimate singing style, a ghostly whisper yet his singing demands attention and the substance of the stories quickly draw in the listener.

This was the lead track Don't Let Me Out from the album the 2008 album The Island Moved in the Storm.. buy it here

A new video has just been posted up for one of the tracks from the above album released via La Société Expéditionnaire, it's a thing of subtle beauty.

Matt Bauer - As She Came Out of the Water (Matt shot the footage) edited by Jenny Lee and features Miss Melaena Cadiz.

Upcoming Tour
09/15/09 - Montreal, Quebec - La Sala Rossa
09/16/09 - Portland, ME - Space
09/17/09 - Boston, MA - Brattle Theater
09/18/09 - New York, NY - (le) Poisson Rouge
09/19/09 - Philadelphia, PA - The M Room
09/20/09 - Charlottesville, VA - The Southern
09/21/09 - Carrboro, NC - The Arts Center
09/22/09 - Charlotte, NC - Double Door Inn
09/24/09 - Decatur, GA - Eddie's Attic
09/25/09 - Birmingham, AL - Bottletree
09/26/09 - New Orleans, LA - The Parish
09/27/09 - Houston, TX - McGonigel’s Mucky Duck
09/28/09 - Austin, TX - Stubb's
09/30/09 - Tucson, AZ - Club Congress
10/06/09 - San Francisco, CA - Ghost Mansion
10/07/09 - Davis, CA - TBA
10/08/09 - Sacramento, CA - Luigi's Fun Garden
10/09/09 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge
10/10/09 - Denver, CO - Walnut Room
10/11/09 - Omaha, NE - Waiting Room
10/12/09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theater
10/13/09 - Madison, WI - High Noon Saloon
10/14/09 - Chicago, IL - Shuba’s
10/15/09 - Bloomington, IN - Russian Recording
10/16/09 - Lexington, KY - The Dame
10/17/09 - Nelsonville, OH - Stuart’s Opera House

10/27/09 - LaBouche d'Air - Nantes, France
10/28/09 - La Lunes Des Pirates - Amiens, France
10/29/09 - TBA - Lille, France
10/30/09 - Collegiale -Vitry-le Fracois, France
10/31/09 - Le Cafe De La Danse - Paris, France

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Hear This! 'Hanging out with Itchy and Scratchy'

People often ask me, what's it like hanging out at Scratchy Towers? usually followed by comments such as "I bet it's just one long session of wine, wimmin' and song" "it must be one long groovy party, what with all those legendary vinyl platters being given a spin" and "Do you live your life like a superstar D.J?"

Well my inquisitive vinyl loving chums, I usually like to keep a low profile to keep out of the tabloids, but I can exclusively reveal that life at Scratchy Towers is all of the above and so much more. Here is a rare photo of myself and Mr Knackers in deep discussion, at the H.Q command centre. We've taken a short break from the non stop hedonism, in order to sort the wheat from the chaff, deciding which platters really matter and should be given a spin at the next non stop banging V.I.P rave.

O.K, it's actually a rather lovely oddity of a record, featuring a conversation between the late Bob Auger, a highly respected sound engineer and Bob Hardcastle, a leading music producer (any further information on Mr Hardcastle would be appreciated)

Bob Auger worked on "a number of high-profile public occasions both in the pop and classical fields. These included as varied events as the 1969 Isle of Wight Pop Festival, the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, Frank Sinatra's charity concert at the Festival Hall and Karlheinz Stockhausen's concert in the same hall in the mid-1970s" He also turned his talents to some of the most famous pop songs to come out of Pye Records in the Sixties such as The Kinks "You Really Got Me" "Sunny Afternoon"The Animals "House of the Rising Sun" and The Spencer Davis Group "Keep on Running"

Hear This!
1981 Discourses Limited DCL 1224

Side One
Reinhold Gliere Symphony No.3 in B minor
John Stanley Six Organ Concertos Op 10 No 5 in A major
Ludwig Van Beethoven The Piano Concerto No 4 in G major
Carl Maria Von Weber Concertino in E flat Op 26
Franz Schubert Piano Quintet in A Major
Scott Joplin Extract from Sunflower Slow Drag

Side 2
Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons Concerto No 3 (Autumn)
Joseph Haydn Symphony No 104
Enrique Granados Marche Militaire
Claude Debussy Images
Edvard Grieg Olav Trygvason

In between each extract our two Bobs discuss such important matters as recording locations, The best of mono, channel tests and microphone placement, balance,multi-microphone techniques and multi-track recording, tape editing, dolby and non-dolby comparison and digital recording and the future.

As it says on the cover "Your unique invitation to join a well-known engineer and a producer talking about good recorded sound, from the early days of mono to superb digital recordings of the 1980's" Thanks for the invite gents, it was a pleasure.