A retrospective show this week to celebrate the past (almost) nine years of weekly Suffolk’n’Cool shows.
There’s a mixture of old and relatively new music from artists that have a significance for me always, initially for their music and also , in many cases for the personal contact and friendships that have developed and continue to this day.
Sadly, this is the final SnC weekly show and there’s an awful lot of music, so brace yourself!
Happy – Jimmie Bratcher (Kansas City, USA)
Jimmie Bratcher was unhesitating when he granted permission to use his instrumental track Happy from his album Red as the main Suffolk ‘n’ Cool signature tune. Jimmie is a fine blues player (and preacher) from Kansas City.
His most recent album, Secretly Famous, was also produced by Jim Gains (Carlos Santana, Steve Miller, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Huey Lewis, etc) is available through his site.
Southbound – Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada)
Ben Caplan is a larger than life character with a really interesting take on life. He puts together bands for different tours (always called The Casual Smoikers) and Codger, Grumbler and I had the pleasure of hanging out with them all at The Great Escape a couple of years ago.
Ben’s over here again this month and will be playing dates in Ireland 15 – 21 October with shows in CLONAKILTY, DINGLE, KILKEE, BALLYVAUGHN, and DUBLIN.
Alright – Sydney Wayser (Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Sydney won our artist of the Month feature a bit back when she also had a rather fetching video that was partly shot at a performance I was at in New York’s The Living Room a couple of years ago.
This seems the perfect excuse to play another track and to suggest that you pick up the whole Bell Choir Coast album for yourself.
Cog In The Machine – Will Knox (New York/London)
Will’s site is minimal right now but there’s a new album on the way.
The first video on his home page was shot at the fabulous Flux Studios in Manhattan whose boss FAB I know, from personal experience, knows how to throw a great studio and rooftop party.
Will recorded The Matador and the Acrobat at Flux with his band, hugely talented musicians every one. Meredith McCandless performed some serious alchemy in engineering the album and the magic that is Flux, shines through the video.
Just in case the site changes, here’s another video for one of Will’s newer songs, Lucky Man.
Factory Nation – Jordan Reyne (London)
Jordan became a permanent fixture in the SnC psyche a few years ago. Her distinctive steam-punk tinged music stretches the brain. She’s recorded a couple of Sessions ay the Barn with us and has become a friend in the process.
It is quite fitting that she has written a fascinating and insightful piece on her blog about creativity. Well worth a read http://jordanreyne.tumblr.com/post/89952952919/creativity-a-guide-to-making-it-happen-without-any
“Jordan grew up on a remote peninsula on New Zealand’s west coast, 3 hours drive from the nearest city. She began making music by collecting bits of iron and discarded farm implements, banging them together and singing at the top of her lungs. When her parents could stand it no longer, they bought her a guitar. Her sense of the land, and peoples relationships to machines and nature remain a key part of her work.
Jordan left her homeland for Germany in 2005 and moved on to the UK in 2011. She currently lives in London, touring Europe annually.”
She’s regularly playing live in Second Life – check her site for scheduled shows.
You can download music from her site and find out more about this remarkable woman. Do it now.
Burn – Grace Valhalla (Nancy, France)
I’ve been a serious fan of Grace Valhalla’s work for the very early days of SnC. She first popped up in show 94 back in 2007. This is from her album PEAK~.
She has released quite a few albums since her first in 2006 her instinctive talent for creating quite captivating music is remarkable. Lots is available on Jamendo and more on iTunes, Juno, Amazon etc, details on her site.
La Plaie Et Le Couteau – Marc Farre (New York, USA)
A gorgeous track from my dear friend Marc who typifies the best of thoughtful French and New York sensibilities in his intelligent song writing and performance. A true gent, it’s always a treat to have dinner with Marc generally at the wonderful Cafe Asean the West Village. Ah, those glass noodles!
Always showing up with something new and interesting check out his beautiful site.
Here’s a video of the rather dark Harry
Battles – Funke and the Two Tone Baby (Margate, Kent, UK) direct
Ah, what can we say about Dan (aka Funke)? Strikingly original songs, energetic performance and a thoroughly great guy. He played a spectacular Session at the Barn for us, from which the barn is almost recovered.
He’s a hard-working musician playing small gigs across England and beyond. Catch him if you can. His most recent album The Last Thing We’ll See Is The Sea is out now.
Here’s The Great Storm, from his most recent album
My Father The Sailor – Nordgarden (Norway and Italy) direct
Terje Nordgarden is another real friend of the show having recorded our first Session at the Barn way back.
A deeply personal song My Father shows his understated song-craft. It’s from his album A Brighter Kind of Blue (2006) on which quite a number of tracks feature guitar voice and trumpery. An unusual but really effective combination.
His most recent release Dieci is sung in Italian throughout.
He has shows in Italy tomorrow and the next night, details on his site
Bodmin Dubbing - Bagas Degol (Cornwall, UK)
No celebratory tour of SnC could be complete without a dose of solid Cornish dub with bagpipes. So, it’s as well that we still have access to the majestic music of Bagas Degol and their seminal album Party Like It’s 1399. The band is no more (as I understand it and I’d love to be wrong) but their Cornish language work is remarkable and very, very Celtic.
Try this the for size too:
To give credit where it is most certainly due, Pete Cogle discovered this album on the old Podsafe Music Network way back in the day. Pete consistently finds “weird and wonderful” music for us.
That’s the end of Suffolk’n’Cool in its current form. It’s been a blast and a labour of real love to bring you the best I can find every week as your blast of fresh musical air.
The weekly show may be stopping but I’ll be popping up now and again with something for you, perhaps a Session at the Barn, a special feature, a video to share or a report from one of the music events I’m planning to get to. So not so much an end as a refresh.
The site isn’t going away and new developments and episodes will appear here.
If you want to be sure to get whatever’s coming down the track, be sure to subscribe through iTunes or Stitcher or any of the podcast subscription services.
My thanks to all the artists, labels and publicists who have kept up a relentless flow of interesting music for me to select from. Of course, the artists and labels are all independents and I’ve been delighted to do what I can to support them. I hope you’ll continue to do so.
Finally, of course, my thanks to you, for taking the time to listen. You really are the stars of the independent music world. Without loyal fans (or perhaps it’s patrons) oiling the wheels, the real music economy would stop.
Thank you so much; I’ll catch you later.
Mind how you go.
We’ve gone a bit dubby this week with a couple of artists from the excellent A Quiet Bump net label in Sicily. Boo Boo Davis brings us back to our blues roots and then gives it all a bit of a twist and to start a great sound from Bath, here in the UK.
Allergy – Tonight We Fly (Bath, UK)
Highs – Tonight We Fly
Tonight We Fly formed early in 2014 in Bath, Somerset, and are made up of members Jack Godby, Tom Summers, Ned French and Craig Spensely. The band seem perennially in love with the notion of true ‘indie’ music, referencing a time when the best place to hear British independent music was when it was being introduced (and occasionally played at the wrong speed) by John Peel, back in the days when BBC Radio 1 still saw a value in occasional risk-taking.
Whilst their style may hark back to the ‘shambling’ bands of British indie music’s true heyday, Tonight We Fly’s attention to detail in both lyrics and music is formidable, and cheerfully rewards repeated listens.
Their music is a welcome reminder in these heady times that the ones convictions are oft best expressed with a sad-sack demeanour and an unwavering appreciation of persistently cloudy skies.
The Bath and Bahamas connection?
A belated thanks to Jalal who left a kind comment on the show notes for show 246 a couple of weeks ago to say “Another nice one Clithers” and that he regarded Dálava as a particularly good find and that he’s looking forward to their album coming out next month. I also see that he appears to have a Bahamian connection through WildQuest who run venture swimming with dolphins in Bimini – well, there’s a happy co-incidence. The I’ve been is swimming with a remarkably inquisitive barracuda on a small reef off Long Island, way down at the other end of the Bahamas. It was pretty amazing though.
Diggin In Ya Boongie – D Mac
We See – Voodoo Tapes (Napoli, Italia)
Colonial Blend Extra Bold – Voodoo Tapes
Voodoo Tapes is the pseudonym of Giovanni Roma (aka Blob). It began in 2011 for an irresistible impulse to perform digital dub vibrations. There is no other reason why this project was born over the trance of bass, hi-hat and spring reverb.
This comes from the latest release on the excellent A Quiet Bump label in Sicily.
Thirsty Version – Hotdrop (Madrid, Spain)
Sexo Duro Chapter1 – Hotdrop
Hotdrop was born in the winter of 2004, in dark rehearsal rooms of Madrid”s suburbs, where the irresistible attraction for Jamaican rhythms made these reggae lovers take the same direction. The band grew gradually, thanks to underground jam sessions, summer recordings and amazing coincidences…Long inspired rehearsal nights did the rest. But the road is long and Hotdrop’s story suffered many encounters and farewells, until it reached the stable musical line up that currently creates its mystic reggae-dub sound.
Hotdrop have been busy lately, touring in the main cities of Spain opening for important artists such as Toots Hibbert, Slackers, Baba Toure, Heptones and heating the waves of many reggae radios across the world. Hotdrop is preparing now the tracks of their next album, so stay tuned. They are now presenting their latest record “No barriers”, a vinyl EP full of hypnotic rhythms and special vocal collaborations.
www.hotdrop.es/ (not working at date of show)
Late last week?
Were we late last for the subscriber download last week? If so, sorry, it was my finger. Ot didn’t press the wrong button but it failed to click on the final crucial publish to iTunes button at Libsyn.
Blues On My Mind – Boo Boo Davis (St Louis, Missouri)
Bring Back My Baby – Boo Boo Davis
Boo Boo Davis is a survivor and belongs to the last generations of musicians that write and play the blues based on first hand experience of a hard life in the Mississippi Delta.
He was born and raised in Drew, Mississippi in the heart of Delta. It was the richest cotton land in the South and the large amounts of field workers attracted the best musicians from the surrounding areas. The entire Delta region was rich with blues, but the town of Drew was a particularly fertile one. Charley Patton stayed near Drew for many years and several legendary performers spent time there. Sharecroppers sang loudly to help pass the greuling hours of work and without a doubt Boo Boo developed his loud, bellowing voice based on the singing he heard in the fields as a young boy.
Boo Boo Davis used to play the renowned blues club Tubby’s Red Room in East St Louis with his brothers, as the Davis Brothers. His raw uncompromising blues sound, reminiscent at times of Howling Wolf, has been given a really interesting twist by Jan Mittendorp at Black & Tan and the Blue Acid Team near Amsterdam who explain that:
“We started with recording his vocals and harp parts and afterwards BLu ACiD created a musical background for these vocal tracks. What you hear is a voice from ‘the delta’ running into 21st century technology. Like moonshine, this music was slow brewed in seclusion during all-night-and-day marathons attended only by the two BLu ACiD members and the ghosts of the past, who were eager to have their voices echo into the modern world.”
It certainly works for me.
As the dog days of summer splutter into the first mists of autumn we’re taking a moderately chilled approach to this week’s show with tracks from artists in Nashville, Halifax, New York and Lisbon, Portugal. Kick back, chill out and enjoy the music although there is, of course something bit more rocking in the first track.
Blue Hotel – Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden (Nashville, USA)
The State I’m In - Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden (Nashville, USA)
Seattle-born, Nashville-based Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden play lush, layered indie rock with sparkling melodies and shimmering soundscapes.
In 2013, the band launched a highly successful crowd-funding campaign via Kickstarter for their collaborative film+music venture, The Shape The Color The Feel. The project attracted the attention of many, including Huffington Post who called the “effort to bring the best of the past and the present together” “admirably ambitious,” going on to say, “the real beauty of the project is that just as it seeks to recapture some of what music has lost to technology, it’s utilizing the same technology to make that happen.”
Upon completion, KT+SOS turned the record over to a group of filmmakers and artists, handpicked by the band, asking each of them to choose a song and create a visual expression of it. The first of these aural and visual pairings, “Looking Around,” premiered on the Vinyl District in November and the most recent, “Best Friends’ Love” saw its debut on Esquire. Music videos and short films are set to premiere throughout 2014.
In addition to the short films and music videos, Australian artist Jessie English created a series of wet process photograms based on each song. The Shape The Color The Feel visual exhibit opened in Nashville on February 16, 2014 and will travel to several cities throughout 2014.
As this all unfolds, Tucker and filmmaker Miriam Bennett are working on a documentary featuring the creative community that has emerged throughout the project. For Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden, The Shape The Color The Feel is a sort of homecoming, but it’s also a leap into the great unknown.
Sep 26 The WorkPlay Theatre Birmingham, AL
Dec 06 Musica Akron, OH
Dec 07 Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
Dec 08 Plush St Louis, MO
Babylonis – M-PeX (Lisbon, Portugal)
Staphila – M-PeX
A tradição envolve-se com a modernidade numa relação que tem tanto de promíscua como de frutífera e verdadeiramente interessante. M-PeX é um projecto que alia a Guitarra Portuguesa à música electrónica, e que ousa explorar paisagens musicais nunca antes visitadas.
Uma experiência arrojada que estabelece um teste aos nossos sentidos, que se atreve a derrubar clichés e que prova que a música tradicional também pode ser moderna, ou vice-versa. Imagine-se o som cristalino de uma Guitarra Portuguesa. Imagine-se um laptop a debitar ritmos electrónicos. M-PeX é isso mesmo, música electrónica com Guitarra Portuguesa. Ou talvez seja Guitarra Portuguesa co electrónica. De qualquer forma, o projecto cruza estilos musicais aparentemente inconciliáveis. Mas afinal parece que é possível. O resultado não é Fado, nem electrónica, nem apenas a soma dos dois: é algo de indefinível que nasce do casamento da tradição com a inovação.
Which basically means that if you’re familiar with the works of Portuguese Fado singers such as Mariza you’ll know and probabl y love the sound of the 12 string Portuguese guitar. Now mash that sound up with a laptop generating electronic elements and you’ve got a new take on Fado.
Both tracks are from his Jamendo album, iPhado which you’ll find at https://www.jamendo.com/en/list/a136632/iphado
Thanks to Nick in Germany for the screen shot of his SnC collection, every single edition since 2006. He did describe last weeks show as “diversified”. Yes I rather think so, perhaps a bit too diversified! This week perhaps less so.
Season’s Rest – Paper Beat Scissors (Halifax, NS, Canada)
A welcome return for Tim Crabtree aka Paper Beat Scissors. We’ve heard a few of his beautiful etherial tracks in the past year or so including a couple of tracks from his live recordings at St. Matthew’s Church. This time both tracks are from the eponymous and solidly excellent Paper Beat Scissors album.
Tim is a Brit living in Nova Scotia and an active member of a vibrant musical and creative community in and around the city.
If you get the chance, do catch one of the shows on his current European tour – his live performances are very special indeed.
Watch Me Go – Paper Beat Scissors
Remaining dates on the Paper Beat Scissors Solo Euro Tour:
September 17 – Mainz, DE: Haus Mainusch
September 19 – Newcastle, UK: The Butterfly Cabinet
September 20 – Ramsbottom, UK: Ramsbottom Festival
September 22 – Sheffield, UK: Cafe #9
September 24 – Leeds, UK: House Show
September 25 – York, UK: TBA
September 27 – Paris, FR: TBA
September 28 – Augsburg, DE: House Show
September 29 – Graz, AT: Die Scherbe
October 3 – Reykjavik, IS: Kaffi Rósenberg
CMJ initial artist line-up and mixtape
Did I mention that the initial artist line-up for CMJ has been announced and it looks as intriguing as ever with loads of artists I’ve never heard of! That’s the point really – discovering new music. There will be more announcements in the next couple of weeks before the Music Marathon itself in NYC Oct 21-25.
The initial daytime panel programme looks rather good too. I often think that the quality of some of the panels is itself worth the price of admission, although youm can still save $25 omn 2014 badges if you’re quick about it. Having said that, the full badge is discounted from $549 but then that is for four full days of music, panels and the parallel Film Festival. A student badge will cost $365 less the $25.
It’s not cheap, but in my view, it’s excellent value. There’s also a free mixtape available from CMJ if you fancy a listen to something else a bit different. Free download here:
… and let me know what you like.
L’été - Wyatt (New York)
Walking Down 6th Avenue – Wyatt
WYATT’s music is born out of the Colorado calm and NYC craze that have molded Maddy as a writer. It continues on the folk/pop path they’ve forged, but this time it’s infused with bits of psychedelia, California dreaming and French revolution.
Maddy, Paul, and Alex Wyatt grew up outside Denver, right where the mountains start, and WYATT’s music is influenced by the space, peace and grandeur that Colorado exudes. Coming from French Canadian stock on their dad’s side, and having been taught songs in French from a very early age, it was fairly inevitable that Maddy would start writing songs in French. She embraces the inherent beauty and flow of the language, and enjoys the challenge of writing in a second language, as it forces her to keep things simple and efficient as she puts the pen to paper.
Here Comes Everybody is produced by Matthew Maroulakos (Waking Lights) and Grant Zubritsky (Alex Winston, Nina Persson) at The Den Studios in Woodland Park, NJ. It was mixed by Dave Robertson (Dangly Studios) in Brooklyn, NY and mastered by Hans DeKline (Sound Bites Dog) in Los Angeles, CA.
WYATT will be on the road through the fall in support of the Here Comes Everybody EP scheduled for release on November 11, 2014.
We’ve got a live recording from the high desert of New Mexico, Ghostly sounds from Seattle, Afrobeat from Brooklyn and to start, songs collected by a biologist in the Carpathian mountains of Central and Eastern Europe over a hundred years ago.
Ej, Lasko, lasko – Aram Bajakian & Julia Ulehla (Dálava) (New York City, USA) Rock Paper
A biologist was so enchanted by the music of a small Moravian village at the western hem of the Carpathians over a hundred years ago that he meticulously transcribed them into a tome of a book.
The songs had been carefully preserved. But how could they come alive over a hundred years later?
The NYC based band Dálava gives a beautifully idiosyncratic answer with their eponymous debut album (release: October 14, 2014). Based on the Moravian folk songs transcribed by biologist and ethnomusicologist Dr. Vladimir Úlehla, and led by vocalist Julia Ulehla (Vladimír’s American great granddaughter) and guitarist Aram Bajakian, the album vibrates with intensity, even when whispering and sparse. Prepared and distorted guitar alternates with eerie soundscapes. Ulehla’s voice teases and caresses (“Milá má”), then leaps and bounds (“Mamičky”).
“The song texts feel like fairy tales, like compact parables,” muses Ulehla. “They are so evocative of a whole miniature universe. We tried to give each song its own sound world. We knew nothing about the traditional way it was done at the time. It was simply a work of creativity and imagination. We were totally free.”
Bajakian has toured extensively with Lou Reed, who he played alongside during the rock legend’s final two tours. Bajakian then went on to perform over 100 shows alongside multiple Grammy winner Diana Krall during her much lauded Glad Rag Doll Tour. He learned from friend and guitar mentor Marc Ribot, and has worked with John Zorn and his circle to compose and perform challenging contemporary music (though often with a strong rock kick). He has also experimented with tender, more acoustically leaning treatments of Armenian folk tunes with his project Kef.
Ulehla, classically trained at the Eastman School of Music, left the opera world for the uncharted, exploratory territory of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, drawing on the experience of the theater icon and his collaborators to dig deep into the physical experience and ritual mindset of songs in performance.
The two childhood friends crossed paths again as adults, meeting up in Italy where Ulehla was an actress at the Workcenter. Eventually, they found themselves back in New York together as young parents and curious musicians. They decided to tackle the love songs and philosophical ballads, the recruiting chants and cryptic fragments transcribed by Ulehla’s great-grandfather Vladimír.
A ty moja najmilejsi – Aram Bajakian & Julia Ulehla (New York City, USA)
The Trilogy – We Are The West (LA, CA, USA)
We heard from We Are The West a while ago and now they have a new work out in the wild called We Are The West III. This is a single track offering somewhat confusingly called Trilogy.
Brett Hool together with his musical soul-mate, John Kibler, are interested in exploring the convergence of sound and space. For this recording they leave the storm drains and underground garage spaces of LA and head out for a live recording in the high desert of New Mexico. Yes, WATW really are interested in exploring the convergence of sound and space.
Their skilfully crafted music is layered into the context of very live performing and recoding spaces, resulting in songs of a haunting beauty and intimacy.
Their WATW III recording brings us close to performance poetry in places but always underpinned by fabulous playing and voices that reveal real passion. It repays focussed listening.
Ann De Witt has an insightful written interview with Brett and John in The Believer magazine
You can get the EP (if that’s what it is) at http://wearethewest.com/WATW/EPIII.html where there is a link to their Bandcamp page. It is offered on a pay what you like basis (min $3) have a listen and discover how much you like it, then let that tell you want it is worth – I’d say the benefit to my soul is worth way more than $3.
The bands previous episodes in the four recording suite are available from Bandcamp too.
Arterial – Lusine (Seattle, WA, USA)
Lusine is Texan Jeff McIlwain, an ambient/IDM musician. Originally a Texas native, McIlwain now resides in Seattle. After his diverse yet cohesive 2013 album The Waiting Room, Lusine, is back with a more tightly focused EP.
The release of Arterial, his fourth EP for Ghostly International, marks another successful foray into a niche that most artists would spend their careers immersed in. A calmly effortless work, Arterial is economical in everything it does, creating its own tiny universe to house expertly crafted productions. On the title track, crackling samples simmer like heated atoms narrowly missing each other, suspending us as we wait for release.
“Eyes Give In” encapsulates the EP’s feel, taut, with no sound out of place, and yet over the course of its five minutes warming into something undeniably human, even comforting. “Quiet Day,” the most accessible track here, demonstrates McIlwain’s gift for merging heady electronic music with the visceral appeal of pop, as his gorgeous synth melodies compliment submerged vocals.
Eyes Give In – Lusine
At 20 minutes, the EP is exactly as long as it needs to be, showcasing yet again the multiplicity that exists within Lusine’s work through songs that form a compact whole. As McIlwain told Giant Step in a recent interview, his goal is to find “beauty in strange places” and “warmth under the surface” through all his music, and on Arterial he fulfills this wonderfully.
You can buy it direct from Ghostly International at: http://www.theghostlystore.com/collections/music/products/lusine-arterial
Bella Ciao – Underground System (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
Underground System’s music finds its roots in Fela Kuti’s West African pioneered Afrobeat aesthetic that is chopped and screwed with the disparate influences from dance halls around the world. The band’s female frontline pushes them ahead with a unifying socially conscious voice, Underground System is a force: a freaky, dancey, multicultural party.
From the two track Bella Ciao EP a five track remix album has emerged, that truly displays the diversity of Underground System’s music. To create this album Underground System has called upon their extensive network of beat makers, electronic musicians, rappers and DJs to create five incredibly different remixes of the tracks D.O.N. and Bella Ciao. Underground System Remixed features reworked tracks from the Brooklyn-based trio Archie Pelago brings their electronics, trumpet, cello, sax in for a spaced-out disco remix of Bella Ciao. Globe-hopping DJ and educator Chief Boima twisted that same track into a dark percussive track ready for the international dancefloor. The Bella Ciao remixes are rounded out by none other than Peter Matson, Underground System’s own bandleader and accomplished DJ and producer in his own right. The track D.O.N. was put into the hands of Das Racist alums Kool A.D. and Kassa Overall aka Kool and Kass, the result is an epic extended verse track that only these two hip hop magicians would produce. The final remix of D.O.N. is the premier of the newest Underground System offshoot project Big Everything (Elenna Canlas and Peter Matson) dance floors beware!
The video for the original mix.