CHANNEL ISLANDS

Archive for the ‘jersey’ Category

Intermission: The Audio rock the granny out of it

In bands, club kamikaze, jersey, live lounge, music on October 17, 2010 at 20:56

In August 2010 I went to what was billed as a secret, debut live set by a band called The Audio. I already knew about the band because I had previously helped to promote events featuring three quarters of its membership.

Leon Bouhaire is formerly the drummer in Black Stats who were Jersey’s dark knights of gothic rock. Leon is truly a gentleman drummer, gracious, friendly and easy to get along with, and in any band he is a powerful, focused musical presence.

Matt Romeril had been in the first band that I worked with as a promoter, The Exchange, and later with one of the finest melodic pop acts to have come out of Jersey – now based in Brighton – The Mulburys.

Keith Saxman is a synthesizer and sax player. He plays saxophone at Philosophy of House events, is known for his work with Sax Maniacs, and was full-time pianist during La Cala’s opening year.

Jim Dolan, singer and guitarist, front man, represents a figure of yer actual glamour and sexual otherness. He is charismatic, great company, and intensely committed to songwriting and performance. I recall how Jim, in the days of his previous band The Author, could also be irrepressibly naughty and a relentless talker of unbelievable bullshit. He was asked to leave that band by co-writer and singer Christian Silver and others who briefly retained the name but swiftly dropped all links to the Jim-period lineup. For the record, Household Appliance was an excellent piece of work – the song, the single release on iTunes, the video, the promotional tour – but those were the last actions of a band that was coming apart fast. After a short period of artistic exile Jim seems to have found a crew that emotionally nourishes in a way that The Author apparently could not.

The Audio chose a St. Helier pub, The Victoria, in Minden Place, not known for live music. It’s a cosy, charmingly old school drinking den in the middle of town, and it has a first floor room that is ideal for the kind of low-key musical adventure that was undertaken on this night, with a small, adequate bar and a long, plant-strewn outdoor area for smoking and chilling in the warm summer air. The only deficiency was an unsuitable sound system; the Bose speakers on stalks that served as a PA for the event just didn’t shape their sound the way it needed. Anyway it was a good night, and the band, though probably feeling the oddness of having their rehearsal space suddenly full of curious people, did a fine job of presenting their new set with certainty and efficiency. Leon’s drumming technique was a bit in need of space, being as it was based on the super fast hi-hat work that electro bands feature so often. A little relaxing of the rhythms would allow for more development of disco grooves which are there to be won in these arrangements. The feeling is already there in Matt’s sinuous, unhurried bass playing. The crowd was appreciative, mostly made up of friends and supporters, and so it was an easy enough audience to please. That allowed The Audio to approach their performance with a lightness of touch, and Matt’s and Jim’s bass and lead guitar interplay was especially effective for not being too tightly orchestrated.

A couple of months later, last Friday in fact, they played again this time at the prestigious 1st Birthday Bash of Club Kamikaze. Helmed by The Midnight Expresso, Club Kamikaze has over the last twelve months featured sets by The Wizard and The Frog, DJ Men In Masks, Capitol K, Wackro, Bones, Brave Yesterday, The Candy Apples, DJ Emba Djemba, Schillaci, Pirate Video Company, The Hats, DJ Ladd, Stevie Dream, Dinosaur Collective, The Flowing Wow, The Centeniers, Scally Dandan, The Bloody Battle, Brobots! … and lots more. There is a certain ethos to be found in all the multi-hued, creative insanity. It seems it is the aim to reproduce the kinds of excesses and fashion-centric art and music culture of Hoxton. I’m not sure if that is actually possible in the very different cultural environment of Jersey, or if my speculation is anywhere near the mark, but it made for some interesting style clashes. I went to a few of the nights and enjoyed the mixed-up, random atmosphere and the joyful silliness that seemed to result from The Midnight Expresso’s own flamboyant editorial style.

In spite of, or perhaps because of not having had a sound check, they hit the ground running with a very loud and completely assured joyride through their material. Jim was in fantastic vocal form, sounding not at all unlike Ziggy-era Bowie at times all swooping melodies and imperious chanting. It’s hard to say what the lyrics are about, only fragments emerge from the booming, synthetic orchestration and that could be because they are poetically fractured intentionally. There is a rich mood, for sure, of science fiction and seedy ’70s glamour, in the onrush of titanic riffs and dazzling chord changes.

The Audio this time were a united team. The drumming was less striving for correctness, and more primal. The importance of Keith’s keyboard playing was obvious with its exquisite chordal amplifications of quite stark rock and blues forms elevating the material to a level of proggy sophistication. There were moments when the way in which the band approached audacious changes and deftly accomplished melodic union palpably excited the audience. A director of Jersey Live was in that audience, and I’d be very surprised if he didn’t think this is a band whose natural place is on the main stage.

Avantstonerkrautloop! Asylum presents Halloween at Live Lounge, Saturday 30th October 2010

In asylum, bands, guernsey, jersey, live lounge, liverpool, music on October 3, 2010 at 17:09

Teaspoonriverneck and friends on the frightening night

Falenizza Horsepower, Hoonose, and Turquoise Days are joining Teaspoonriverneck for a night of pagan beer-spilling at Live Lounge in Jersey, on Saturday 30th October 2010. As if that isn’t enough, DJs Carlo Zen and Stevie Dream will be commanding the floor and, in a kindly gesture of inter-island cultural diplomacy, the Bailiff has granted us an extension to 3 am!

Update: Pirate Video Company have joined the lineup of this specially extended event.

Poster by Lynchy and Dave

Teaspoonriverneck

The fascinating series of records made by Teaspoonriverneck since 2006 would captivate any fan of rock ‘n’ roll that seethes and crackles with blues, gospel, soul, sin, redemption, post-apocalyptic godlessness and twisted love. Teaspoonriverneck (2006), Craft Of Lisia (2008), Sunset’s Trip (March 2009) and IV (March 2010), four CDs made in as many years, reach heights of power in songs about love, life, sex and death played with darkly romantic literary style and lots of louche swaggering attitude.

The band gave me a copy of Sunset’s Trip when I worked with them on a show in 2009. The record’s evocative, fragmentary lyrics, furiously tight playing, and tense, heavy rock production make for an extraordinary stew of psychedelic metal, stoner folk, dirt-rock and classic r ‘n’ b, set in a zone of timeless, paradoxical perversions that will be familiar to fans of Nick Cave, PJ Harvey and other eloquent, gothic rockers.

You can hear two of their best dark-hearted songs in excellent audio quality at the online home of a collective of Channel Islands-affiliated performers and promoters, Scuro Disco.

So how, you might ask, can their records be obtained? You could contact the band directly. They’d like that at Teaspoonriverneck Facebook fan page.

Hoonose

In Liverpool there lives an artist known as Hoonose who has been using self-taught studio techniques to record a series of classic albums that began around 2002 with The Filware Way. A little before that he made a few EPs and other limited releases, and before that, in the early and mid-’90s, he had connections in Jersey and collaborated regularly with musicians there.

He often busks around the country with a guitar, an amp, and a voice trained by the most improving of musical activities. Perhaps he never gave up busking because it is the perfect musical situation for him: Common and public spaces and unpredictable flows of human activity in which the performer sets himself unannounced. Some might be delighted or inspired by what they witness. Audience in that context is a dynamic, changing mass and the artist is just another part of it, real and separate, unreal and together, all at once. Hoonose is at home on the streets where we live.

After the first album by Hoonose his recording work hit a confident stride and now we can appreciate a decade-long project of studio experimentation with terrific song writing and arranging. Themes recur as facets of one overarching theme, that of love and dedication to fairness and equality in society; in frank reminders of our responsibilities, bitter critiques of misguided government, the hypocrisies of celebrity, and the dangers of political disenfranchisement. He sings of power gone out of control, of dwindling energy resources and the marginalised optimism of alternative thinkers. Optimism is the key to the work of Hoonose. It is a hard won hope bravely defended in an age of encroaching paranoia and chaos.

This is a powerful sequence of records by an artist who has never stood still or sold out. Click on the album art image above to read reviews and buy the records.

Falenizza Horsepower

Falenizza Horsepower on the bus

Quite a bit has been written about Falenizza Horsepower on these pages since the band played the first Asylum show in November 2008. The dream team of Dave Spars (s-r0, Whitechapel Murders) and Steve Hutchins (Lebatol) is the nearest thing to perfection the Channel Islands’ music scene ever had. Formidably hard-working, artistically uncompromising, capable of performances so harrowing, so rust-edged and shredded, and so brutally honest that once you’ve seen them the memory never fades. The maturity of their work does not mellow or make safer its visceral qualities but rather focuses them to a point of uniqueness. A good example is Spatchcock Recordings from August 2008 that has not yet seen a physical release but has been made available to stream from Falenizza Horsepower at MySpace. The tapes were sent to the band in May 2010 and they must have been thrilled to find such a well recorded and powerful set. Frankly, the world needs to know, and here’s hoping that Spatchcock Recordings gets its rumored release soon.

A bounty of eleven songs is available free to download from Falenizza Horsepower at last.fm. They are mp3s at 128kbps, previews really, and yet this is the mother lode: An album’s worth of tracks from one of the very greatest art punk bands in the UK.

Before the Asylum Halloween show, on 14th October 2010, Falenizza Horsepower will be performing at the Unicorn, Camden Road, London, alongside One Man Team Dance and Shield Your Eyes in a show hosted by Function Records. That’s the poster art above, obviously yeah.

Turquoise Days

Turquoise Days is a band inspired by the influential ’80s fashion for future nostalgia and utopian dreams of post-war enlightenment and industrial progress. They were among artists of the late ’70s and early ’80s who were producing what came to be known as minimal wave, and which was first called synthpop, including Joy Division / New Order, Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark and The Human League. The cast of original artists who responded interestingly to the opportunities of independent creativity in the post-punk period while emulating the emotionally burned-out stance and synthesis obsessions of Bowie in Berlin, the cyborg cult of disco – in particular the science fiction fusion of soul and machine that is I Feel Love by Giorgio Moroder and Donna Summer – and the haunted metronomic hymns to modernity invented by Kraftwerk, is well worth investigating.

The New York label Minimal Wave has released the album Alternative Strategies by Turquoise Days in an edition of 999 hand numbered copies on white 180-gram vinyl. Click on the album art below to go to the site’s page for the release and send order requests to info@minimalwave.org

From the record company’s press info: Minimal Wave presents a full length album by synthpop band Turquoise Days. Hailing from Jersey, Channel Islands, Turquoise Days was formed in 1981 by Luciano Brambilla and David Le Breton. Throughout the 1980s, they self-released many cassettes, as well as the renowned masterpiece Grey Skies / Blurred 7”. They were selected for the Radio Luxembourg song contest in 1985 and received press for their releases and appearance there. Their music can be described as melodic, emotive new wave.

Here is a link to a video with an introduction to this enduring genre by DJ, musician, and founder of the record label Minimal Wave, Veronica Vasicka. Her enthusiasm for this rediscovered music is great. Before her archival efforts it mostly existed only as traces on super-rare audio tapes and VHS. She talks about how fascinating it is that so many bands are now making this kind of music using the original analogue methods.

The song Blurred by Turquoise Days has also featured on a compilation The Minimal Wave Tapes Volume 1 released by Stones Throw.

Joe Driscoll at Live Lounge, Saturday May 22nd

In asylum, bands, guernsey, jersey, jmct, live lounge, music, music scene, new york on May 18, 2010 at 18:18

For the second time this fine, hot, dusty month of May, JMCT, Music Scene and Asylum together present a musical event of world-class quality.

Joe Driscoll is the man described by Speech of Arrested Development as “the true essence of hip hop music”. He is a guitar playing, beatbox-looping, consciousness-sharing one-man revolution of peaceful protest in song. Joe’s website joedriscoll.net is a fine place to start for those who require more of an introduction; it is overflowing with critical praise, accolades from superstar peers, video clips of performances and TV appearances, and a whole lot more. The collected lyrics are well worth investigating – here is a mind questing, testing, and defiantly not resting as it weaves together tales of personal growth and universal experience.

Joe Driscoll, maverick manipulator of live loops, plainly loves connecting with his audience and making friends all around the world. He is also commendably not afraid to speak out with political observations like his recently published blog in which he explores with maturity and wisdom the paradoxical issue of the war that President Obama has chosen to continue to wage in the name of peace: The Roots Of Violence

A performance by Joe Driscoll in an intimate back street club like the Live Lounge is a rare treat that is, frankly, unmissable so don’t miss it. Supporting acts are Jamie-Lee Fallaize from Guernsey and DJs Carlo and Livingstone. Tickets are available from Music Scene and White Label Records. A Facebook event has been set up here: JOE DRISCOLL (LIVE!)

The brilliant poster art for this and last week’s campaign was designed by Mark Evans. Go to his website markhevans.co.uk and if you want your business or brand to be touched by genius, contact him.

Sound Of Rum at Live Lounge, Saturday May 15th

In asylum, bands, jersey, jmct, live lounge, london, music, music scene on May 11, 2010 at 20:14

Sound Of Rum are playing in Jersey this Saturday, May 15th 2010. The Live Lounge, the island’s seriously cool venue for live music, will host what will be a very special night for lovers of jazz, beats and hip hop.

Sound Of Rum are rapper Kate Tempest, guitarist Archie Marsh, and drummer Ferry Lawrenson. Ensembles like this do not visit Jersey any way near enough. So, if you are up for catching what just might be the best show at the Live Lounge yet in 2010, where can you find out more about this event and the band that Rob Da Bank hailed as a band to follow? I’m glad you asked …

It’s the informative, welcoming, and official Sound Of Rum website where you can find content from the band’s gloriously random diary-esque Twitter photostream, their Twitter account – say hi to @soundofrum, their MySpace page, and other good things currently including a notice of their imminent Jersey show! Click on the picture below to go to the site.

The show is being organised by Jamie Evans of Jersey Musicians Charitable Trust, who is also bassist with Jersey-based dub warriors Benny The Moth, alongside Asylum and St. Helier independent vinyl vendors Music Scene. Here is what Jamie says about the show:

Having signed a recording deal with Radio 1 DJ Rob Da Bank’s Sunday Best label only months ago they have been getting widespread Radio 1 airplay and critical acclaim from fans and press alike with their uniquely balanced crossover of spoken word poetry, hip-hop and jazz. Fronted by young spoken word artist Kate Excentral Tempest who has performed at slam poetry events in New York and London and recently featured on Griff Rhys Jones’ BBC 2 TV show ‘Why Poetry Matters’ they spent last year releasing 2 EPs and playing Reading and Leeds Festivals, Glastonbury, Bestival, Latitude and Secret Garden before signing a deal which is set to see their soon to be released debut album draw them massive exposure from a wider audience. Completing the sound are the perfect jazz beats of drummer Ferry and the complex arrangements of guitar and bass loop station maestro Archie. Their debut appearance on Channel Island shores is set to be a massive coup for musically discerning Islanders and a night surely not to be missed. Support on the night comes from Jersey’s own Jackson Lee and Oneofakind who has already opened from Quantic and DJ Yoda this year. Tickets are strictly limited £7 and available from Music Scene in Bath Street and White Label Records in Colomberie.

Right, signed in to Facebook? Of course you are. Attend!

Jersey Evening Post, December 24th 2009

In asylum, bands, jersey, live lounge, music, press on December 24, 2009 at 01:42

Jersey Evening Post, December 19th 2009

In asylum, bands, bristol, jersey, live lounge, music, press, york on December 19, 2009 at 01:39

Asylum at Live Lounge, Saturday 19th December 2009

In asylum, bands, brighton, bristol, jersey, live lounge, music, york on December 3, 2009 at 17:29

Update, December 14th 2009: The Gaa Gaas have had to pull out of this show. We completely understand their decision and hope to work with them soon. I’ll leave the write-up about them in this post because their substantial influence on the island’s music scene has guided the choices for this promotion and we will miss them!

Their place in the night’s line-up has been filled by Pirate Video Company. They are Max Cleworth, Piers Le Moignan, and Nick Wells. They write and perform a kind of agitated, brainy pop, with chants and melodic hooks to snag the mind, matching chaotic principle of punk with minimal funk grooves. There is an intriguing absence of harmonic rootedness in their work which suggests an experimental bias in their methods. Dean Taylor of This Is Not A Label has said of them, “I like them.”

A is for Asylum

Man Is Slapped

Richard Berks, a man with a laptop and brain brimming with surreal musical inventions, is known for being keyboard player in the original lineup of Jersey and London-based post-punk heroes Velofax. Since those riotous days he has done many things including having moved to beautiful, northern fortress city of York but perhaps most notably he has created a series of astounding works as Man Is Slapped. His recordings are stunningly produced, brazenly unconventional, and delicately romantic. His music is a kaleidoscopic moiré of guitar, glitch, synthetic blooping, breakbeats, and intelligent pop singing. There is an evident delight in confounding expectations with lucid abandon. The music is surprising and strange, and from within this intricate, unstable architecture of electronic mashup a passionate soul emerges to explore emotional realities with subtle poetry and wit.

Man Is Slapped by Tommy Jackson

Man Is Slapped has been featured on episode 16 of the brilliant Instant Classic podcast curated by pop genius Penny Broadhurst. Download it here Back To School Bumper Special

For more news and content from Man Is Slapped see
Man Is Slapped Facebook page
Man Is Slapped (free download)

Brobots!

The lovable alien machines who came in from the cold of outer space to learn how to party with Earth women, watch Countdown, break human instruments and remake them again in their own curious ways have taken Jersey by storm in 2009. The list of promoters and media players that have supported them goes on and on: Branchage Festival, Club Kamikaze, JMCT, Jersey Live, Channel TV, Gallery Magazine, Jersey Evening Post, BBC Radio Jersey, Scuro Disco … It would be unthinkable to celebrate the end of a great year for Asylum and Live Lounge without welcoming them back.

C.O.I.

Asylum wouldn’t have happened without the technical brilliance and devotion to quality that sound engineer Justin Vooles has consistently brought to the project. Justin has invited one of his favourite bands, C.O.I. of Bristol, to perform at this show.

C.O.I.

C.O.I. make party music for the kinds of parties at which mind and body are separated in ecstatic revelry. Bristol has always been a cradle for exceptional bands and experimental creativity, and this crew stands head and shoulders above the others according to Venue Magazine. Their songs are rip-roaring anthems delivered with amazing dexterity and streetwise personality. Spiraling shards of Townsendian guitar collide with staggeringly powerful drumming and choruses of gleeful terrace menace in song after song of pop genius. For more information about the band join C.O.I. Facebook group.

The Midnight Expresso

Discordian balladeer, movie star, style guru … Many titles have been bestowed upon The Midnight Expresso but his true identity remains a mystery to, well, probably no-one but that won’t stop me from trying to maintain a veneer of cracked mystique in this blurb. Armed with a keyboard that looks like it was fished out of a skip, stage dress that challenges all acceptable states of mind, and a way with words that is hilariously unhinged, The Midnight Expresso rocks the party hard.

The Midnight Expresso has worked with some of the coolest alternative acts in the business, including Chairlift and Pete and The Pirates. He produced a documentary film, Tornado Of Fame, about breaking into the music business from within. More recently he has been closely involved in the newest regular music night to take place at Live Lounge, Club Kamikaze, which looks set to go from strength to strength in 2010.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

DJs Colin Livingstone and Carlo Zen, who have been our co-hosts over fourteen months of Asylum entertainment, will be playing their choicest cuts between the bands and dancing like mad at the front. Thanks guys for all your hard work and devotion to the scene.

Entry is a fiver and the show starts at nine. Don’t be late or you won’t get in.

The Gaa Gaas

Since I started promoting live music nights in Jersey one name has recurred in many conversations with musicians and music fans. “He’s a genuinely nice guy,” I’m told, “who has not lost contact with his origins, his inspiration, or his friends.” In the various histories of musicians moving their music ventures away from Jersey, those attributes can be surprising and rare. So who is this person who inspires such admiration?

The brilliant, uncompromising punk futurist Gavin Gaa Gaa, and his band mates Peter Hass, Ali Cooper and Ashley Baker, have been forging a darkly minimalistic punk sound in Brighton since 2003. They play mainly in London, where they have a prominent place in the pantheon of new wave punk, and they have been releasing singles and EPs with an industriousness and commitment to quality that is singularly impressive. Their latest release, We Are All Pop Stars! EP, is available to buy from their MySpace page (see link above) where details of other releases and forthcoming dates can be found.

The music of The Gaa Gaas is restless, energetic, cathartic and catchy. Fizzing synths meld with monolithic bass riffs, guitar riffs snake and roil around relentless teutonic drumming, and the four piece creates a sound that is unified, elemental rock ‘n’ roll of the best kind. Recently they have put up new song Perception! on MySpace as an example of what to expect from new EP Repulsion Seminar due for release in early 2010.

For more information about the band and related projects see
The Gaa Gaas at Parallax Sounds Music Label
The Gaa Gaas Facebook page
Gavin Gaa Gaa (Solo Project)
Slurps & Squids (The Creepy Kids)

Resignation and Renewal

In asylum, bands, jersey, live lounge, music on December 3, 2009 at 16:46

I will no longer be involved in promoting regular events at Live Lounge after the end of this year. Daniel Allman will be running the shows from January 2010 and I’m sure that he will do a brilliant job.

After a long association I have a great deal of personal gratitude and respect for Flavio Olim, manager of Live Lounge, for his commitment to the establishment of his business as the pre-eminent live music venue in Jersey. I’d also like to thank Justin Vooles, Dave Spars, Dave Findlay, Sara Montalvao, Wilson Nash, James Evans, and Sam Falle for their support and hard work over the last fourteen months.

Perhaps the most important reason I started promoting these events in 2008 was not my enthusiasm for music which is, as anyone who knows me will affirm, very great. I was seeking a form of collective participation and belonging in reaction to a loss of confidence and a growing sense of life without direction. It was the kind of self-preserving instinct that propels one who feels rejected and alone to go where there are friends and like-minded souls in order to feel less alone. By choosing to work with a diverse group of mostly young musicians I was able to achieve something in dedication to one whose life touched mine for a brief while and who brilliantly encourages and cares for the future of her students.

The need to find a new way of being, which has slowly but surely reoriented me, leaves the so-called online social experience feeling distinctly beside the point. Familiarity with the customs of social network websites is a vital tool in a promoter’s kit but I suspect that absorption in those media tends to reduce a person’s vital connection to what is really important. I have for some time been ambivalent with regard to the boons and curses of online society and my personal history of online creativity is strewn with instances of deletion and occultation of traces.

I am a man of letters, not by choice it seems, and so I plan to write when I can. It is my aim to rediscover the complex human pleasures of poetry and story telling. It will be for the printed, bound medium that is never to be lost, lest we all be lost with it, that I intend to focus those efforts.

Here at the end of the shortest decade there ever was, we find ourselves in a surreal world where dreams and actions continually regenerate one another. Let us be kind, and wise, and remember the words of John Cage: Anything can follow anything else (providing nothing is taken as the basis).

Asylum late 2009 in pictures

In all ages, asylum, bands, blue note, jersey, live lounge, music on December 3, 2009 at 15:36

These three photos by Mikey Phillips are from a stunning set taken at Metal vs. Punk which can be viewed in Asylum Live Lounge Facebook album. For more information about the photographer and commission enquiries contact m.phillips@live.co.uk

Eddie Laffoley by Mikey Phillips - November 20th 2009

James Andrews by Mikey Phillips - November 20th 2009

Wasted Youth by Mikey Phillips - November 20th 2009

A collection of great photos by Danny Evans from Branchage In The Asylum on October 3rd can be seen at Branchage Film Festival. Click on the image below to view them all.

Branchage In The Asylum by Danny Evans - October 3rd 2009

Here are some more photos from a few of the highlights of the last half of this year.

Crowne - August 28th 2009

Gorey Inbreds - September 18th 2009

Livingstone and Almond by Sebastian Meyer - October 1st 2009

Stephan Metcalfe at Blue Note - October 31st 2009

Esther Rose Parkes at Blue Note - October 31st 2009

General Burg of The Coal Box Generals - October 31st 2009

General Shack of The Coal Box Generals - October 31st 2009

The Coal Box Generals at Blue Note - October 31st 2009

Brutus Stonefist - November 14th 2009

Jersey Evening Post, November 21st 2009

In asylum, bands, jersey, jmct, live lounge, music, press on November 21, 2009 at 01:37