RELEASE ROUNDUP: PICCADILLY RECORDS
Welcome to the inaugural ‘Piccadilly Recommends’ selection, where i’ll be taking you through a few of our favourite records released every week. We’re a varied bunch when it comes to genre preferences, so there will be a wide variety of styles represented and there are TONS of new releases every week, so this is but a small selection of the newies on offer. Dig in, and enjoy! – Barry, Piccadilly Records.
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis – Carnage
Hot on the heels of my pick of the RSD bunch (Dirty Three’s ‘Ocean Songs’ boxset featuring one of the Australian trio’s greatest albums, PLUS a full gig playing said album with Cave on Piano duties) comes the first album proper from long-time collaborators and musical life-partners Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. Though they’ve worked together on a veritable smorgasbord of soundtracks (if you’ve not heard their OST to the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s devastating novel ‘The Road’, that’s a good place to start), this lockdown crafted behemoth is hopefully the first of a fruitful freeform relationship. We get the theatrical near-legendary gothic drawl of Cave atop swells of orchestrated strings and shimmering, hopeful bursts of levity. It’s the pieces like ‘White Elephant’ that provide the much needed relief here, with a near unbeatable narrative darkly unfolding before bursting into a jubilant crescendo, immediately at odds with the thoughtful prose of the earlier half but perfectly measured as a ‘palate cleanser’ of sorts. From cinematic scope to playful, wide-eyed joy, ‘Carnage’ is a perfect collaborative effort and easily one of their best works, together or alone.
Francis Lung – Miracle
Though WU LYF were a relatively short-lived project, it’s undeniable that their sound inspired many a musician and left people wanting for more of their shoegazy psych-rock. It’s pertinent then, that one of the core members of said band is indeed creating their own brand of jangling indie, and if you haven’t heard Francis Lung’s previous material, i’d urge you to seek it out ASAP. While the former LP’s may take some seeking, the new one (‘Miracle’) is out this week and is absolutely jam-packed with clever production, wonderfully rich songwriting and shimmering walls of perfectly placed instrumental heft. Where the previous outing was a bit more of an upbeat affair (check out ‘2 Real’ for example’), singles like ‘Lonesome No More’ show the maturity of McLung’s songwriting, gently moving between heartfelt piano ballads a-la Paul McCartney and gorgeous rich orchestration, where the more upbeat moments like ‘Bad Hair Day’ skilfully tread a fine line between rock, classic prog and even hints of country and folk. It’s a clever and instantly alluring combo, but one that reveals more layers every time you listen.
The Lounge Society – Silk For The Starving
The latest band to have sprung out of the West Yorkshire creative bubble are The Lounge Society with their debut EP, ‘Silk For The Starving’. Mixing grooving psychedelic guitars and post-punk percussives with near spoken word political missives and electronic elements with flawless ease, they encompass a wide range of elements into a cohesive and varied whole. Fiery and driven without being overly heavy, this is the zenith of that electronic meets indie sound that we love so much. Perfect for the dancefloor (whenever they reappear) or home listening, this really is a brilliant sign of things to come from these talented youngsters.
Children Of Zeus – Balance
It was actually out a couple weeks ago this one, but as this is the first post, I thought it had to go in. Children Of Zeus have been a huge hit in the shop since their wonderful 2017 outing, ‘The Story So Far’, which was a perfect amalgamation of rich, classic hip-hop instrumentals with Daley & Kon’s skilful vocals and wry lyricism shining through. Same again for their first album proper, ‘Travel Light’ one year later. This time sees them take things up a notch with a wonderfully smooth move towards the more recognisable aspects of street soul, perfectly slowing things down for the hectic times we live in. It’s an intoxicating and transportive development for one of Manchester’s most essential voices. ‘No Love Song’ and ‘Nice & Sweet’ are particularly beautiful pieces (check out their COLOURS show on youtube for a flawless live performance of the former, and a great example of their relaxed vocal style), injecting classic R&B with their keen ear for a beat and impeccable production aesthetic. A wonderfully enjoyable advancement from their already considerable display of talents on the previous releases. Perfect warm weather grooves.
Pye Corner Audio – The Black Mill Tapes Vol 5.
I remember hearing the original Black Mill Tapes and being blown away by the stony, saturated electronic hiss, plus the wonderful story of some tapes being found and restored at a car boot sale by a shadowy figure known as ‘The Head Technician’. It later turned out that the technician in question was actually just a man who makes REALLY good electronic music using synths and produces things like they were recorded through a Tascam 4-track chained up to a couple more Tascam 4-tracks. His albums (‘Stasis’ was my Piccadilly album of the year in 2016, and our collective number 4 in the end-of-year booklet) have been a constant and unending joy, and this is the final edition of his legendary ‘Black Mill Tapes’ pentalogy, previously available in a long-sold-out gigantic box set from last year. Absolutely essential electronic fare.