Along with reuniting to play their first shows in 27 years, TERRY & GERRY also went into the studio to record six new tracks for the self-released Dear John EP in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of John Peel’s death. Longtime fans will be familiar with previously unrecorded T& G numbers This Town Will and Cossacks of Cadbury Road while the bluesier Johnny Who? (with electric guitar flashes from Mick Howson), Fate Unknown (fragmenting families) and Down On Animal Farm (a jab at today’s complacency and low aspirations) were all (to the best of my knowledge) written for the EP. There’s also a bonus track with the inclusion of their 1985 cover of Yeah Yeah Noh’s Bias Binding. Excellent stuff that fully recaptures the vitality and spike of their early days and, with further dates planned for 2015, hopefully just the first new addition to the catalogue.
Due for release early next year, DOMINIC CRANE returns to the recording scene with a new single in the form of Good News For The Paperboy, a melodically solid slice of well-crafted mature pop with rich, resonant guitar , infectious chorus and a swirlingly heady mood that recalls the vintage days of his old band, The Boaty Man, with added hints of McCartney, Black and Squeeze.
Released on Bohemian Jukebox exclusively through iTunes, The Sea, The Sea is a new single by BEN CALVERT & THE SMITHS, a sparse acoustic number, its tale of estrangement and loss inspired by the Irish Murdoch novel of the same name, that sounds like Midlake after being spending several snowed in months in some remote cabin. The first of several single releases planned for the upcoming year, it’s a chill but welcome return to basics.
PEACE have announced details of their sophomore album, due for release in February. Titled Happy People, they say it’s a more experimental approach, part influenced by Bowie, and, in addition to already released singles Lost On Me, Money and World Pleasure, track titles include O You, Gen Strange, Perfect Skin, Someday, I’m A Girl and Under The Moon with the deluxe version adding a further eight numbers, Love Me, God’s Gloves, Imaginary, Blue, Saturday Girl, Flirting USA, Fur and The Music Was To Blame.
Following on from 2012’s What Do People Do All Day and last year’s home recordings collection BETTY & THE ID return with a new studio album. Not IN Front Of The Servants (Wrong Syde), available from their Bandcamp page https://wrongsyderecords.bandcamp.com/ as a CD or a download. Again (mostly) recorded at Highbury, it opens with a sample of Billy Cotton’s Wakey! Wakey! before Good Morning Campers launches into a familiar flurry of Rob Peters’ thundering drums, James Smith’s snarling distorted guitar and the low hung basslines of Allan Murphy they term brutalist psych.
Sharing a little more in common with early Pop Will It Itself and Bowie (notably evident on Remaindered) than is usually mentioned as well as the more standard comparisons to Wire, for all the surface abrasiveness, they have a very poppy and melodic core, something potently evident on numbers such as The Analyst, Common Decency and the swaggery strut of Market Jumpers (where I swear I could hear traces of Hawkwind). Of course, they also have their heavier, more ‘difficult’ moments as with the squally prog riffery of Insides Out (with a sample from Caligula), the interstellar thrash of Oh No! and near eight-minute samples, distortion and feedback drenched closer Threshold. A simultaneously difficult and easy listen, purchase one for your domestics this Christmas.
FaceOmeter is the musical alias of Birmingham ‘off-folk’ singer-songwriter Will Tattersdill whose self-released Why Wait For Failure? is an intriguing cocktail of Roy Harper, Al Stewart, Tom Waits, Conor Oberst and several others that balances off-kilter numbers like the junkyard cabaret clatter shanty Pirate Mariachi and the percussion scuffling and electric piano rap-spoken To Coincidence with the la la la chorale backed strummed troubadour folk dramatics of Full of Incident, the campfire busker joviality of One For The Windowbox with its foot stamps and musician’s life lyrics and the infectious almost carnivaleseque lilt of The Singular Adventures of Sally Tumbleweed that fits neatly into the same box as Beans On Toast and his ilk. It doesn’t quite hold up over 14 tracks, Child of Monkey-Horse!, which features Oxford folkie Ditte Elly on harmonies, temping to the skip button, but if you fancy an album that offers “wassailing pirates, the invention of the lightbulb, filthy electric guitar solos, wedding guests who can't dance, a lullaby sung by a mythological monster, inscrutable references to my personal life, cutting-edge West-Coast USA beats, and the fantastic things found in an ordinary garden”, then you’ve come to the right place.