PRESS

That's Lee, the expression he gets when he starts to spin some classic version he knows you just don't have.

That's Lee, the expression he gets when he starts to spin some classic version he knows you just don't have.

I met Lee at about the time when I started working on the album in 2011.  He was bartending at my local Pub in Brooklyn, which is what he does, when he isn’t DJing, booking bands for DEAD FLOWERS PRODUCTIONS, supporting the Hammers or trying to #saveNY from it’s endless decline into a soullessness.  He's a true born Brooklyn lad, not someone who flocked here and grew a beard. While drawing pints in my anonymous local, Lee was always playing the most extensive collection of 60’s psychedelia, Soul and Ska.  Didn’t take long to become fast friends and it turned out that we had friends and aquaintences in common from the golden NYHC years. We would talk about legendary gigs and I would give him an update on my slow moving record. I wouldn’t be surprised if he thought i was just making it all up. Half a decade later....he had a listen and..


"A wonderfully soaring, dreamy sonic-tapestry which marries late-'60s Abbey Road sounds (the studio, not the album) with post-Syd Pink Floyd and late '80s shoe-gaze, though minus the bombast and bluster of either one. Subtlety and complexity (sans pomposity) is the key, and as such this is one of those albums that merits the dedication of headphones and a through and through listen. Spacemen 3 made "music to take drugs to," The Beautiful Fear is surely music to float to."

 

SPENCER COBRIN ON 'NEVER YESTERDAY'

That's Spencer backstage winning the barnet competition with one of his old bandmates. Photo by Linda Sterling   Old chum Spencer is a composer and percussionist, best known for the songs he co-wrote and recorded with MORRISSEY, such as "Lost" , "Wide To Receive" and "Now I Am A Was". His percussion work on "Southpaw" is magnificent... and the man has recorded with another of my heroes - MICK RONSON... enough said. On a personal note, I will never ever forget a well dodgy stag night with Spennie at some London Dungeon of a nightclub back in the 90's. I blame everything on that night! - Poignant and beautiful, yet the real tragedy of "Never Yesterday" is that it probably won’t be heard by the numbers that this track deserves. In this day and age of consumerist, musical tripe, it is rare to find something, dare I say anything, that takes you on a journey and engages you emotionally, but for those who do dare to look behind the curtain, here it is....

That's Spencer backstage winning the barnet competition with one of his old bandmates. Photo by Linda Sterling

 

Old chum Spencer is a composer and percussionist, best known for the songs he co-wrote and recorded with MORRISSEY, such as "Lost" , "Wide To Receive" and "Now I Am A Was". His percussion work on "Southpaw" is magnificent... and the man has recorded with another of my heroes - MICK RONSON... enough said. On a personal note, I will never ever forget a well dodgy stag night with Spennie at some London Dungeon of a nightclub back in the 90's. I blame everything on that night!

- Poignant and beautiful, yet the real tragedy of "Never Yesterday" is that it probably won’t be heard by the numbers that this track deserves. In this day and age of consumerist, musical tripe, it is rare to find something, dare I say anything, that takes you on a journey and engages you emotionally, but for those who do dare to look behind the curtain, here it is....

KIPPER oN 'DRY CLEANED'

Kipper wearing Minor Threat and 'giving it some' at THE MARQUEE mid 80's   For a man who is an aficionado of espionage, the theme of "Dry Cleaned" seemed appropriate. I have known Kipper all my life, and there is no one who has shaped my musical DNA more than this enigmatic chap. He took me to see THE CURE, RAMONES, CHEAP TRICK, QUEEN and THE CLASH, all before my 15th year... For those of you who don't know Kipper, he was the co-founder and guitarist for the legendary punk-funk 80's band THE LARKS.  They played to thousands and thousands danced and generally went bat shit mental on the dance floor. As a live act they were as electrifying as the BAD BRAINS were in the mid 80's. If Japan keeps calling, a reunion show might be in the works... fingers crossed. Never say never again. - Okay, so "Dry Cleaned" kicks off and I am thinking, "Oh, I get it. It's a Dream Pop type of thing?" But before I can take that on board, what's this?! A late-Sixties style psychedelic sequence as favoured by "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" era Small Faces! But hang on, wait a minute! Now it's cruising along imperiously like The Stranglers in the early-Eighties, at their commercial peak. Later it all breaks down and the sound is more reminiscent of 'release' before the aforementioned elements reacquaint themselves with each other and make for the exit hand-in-hand.... Hats off.

Kipper wearing Minor Threat and 'giving it some' at THE MARQUEE mid 80's

 

For a man who is an aficionado of espionage, the theme of "Dry Cleaned" seemed appropriate. I have known Kipper all my life, and there is no one who has shaped my musical DNA more than this enigmatic chap. He took me to see THE CURE, RAMONES, CHEAP TRICK, QUEEN and THE CLASH, all before my 15th year... For those of you who don't know Kipper, he was the co-founder and guitarist for the legendary punk-funk 80's band THE LARKS.  They played to thousands and thousands danced and generally went bat shit mental on the dance floor. As a live act they were as electrifying as the BAD BRAINS were in the mid 80's. If Japan keeps calling, a reunion show might be in the works... fingers crossed. Never say never again.

- Okay, so "Dry Cleaned" kicks off and I am thinking, "Oh, I get it. It's a Dream Pop type of thing?" But before I can take that on board, what's this?! A late-Sixties style psychedelic sequence as favoured by "Ogdens' Nut Gone Flake" era Small Faces! But hang on, wait a minute! Now it's cruising along imperiously like The Stranglers in the early-Eighties, at their commercial peak. Later it all breaks down and the sound is more reminiscent of 'release' before the aforementioned elements reacquaint themselves with each other and make for the exit hand-in-hand.... Hats off.

DENNIS & LOIS ON 'A RETROSPECTIVE'

"look out below"....that's Dennis and Lois with the matching RAMONES T-Shirts at CBGB...."Rocket to Russia" era. Photo by David Godlis.

"look out below"....that's Dennis and Lois with the matching RAMONES T-Shirts at CBGB...."Rocket to Russia" era. Photo by David Godlis.

They met at CBGB in the mid 70’s at a RAMONES gig. The Happy Mondays named a song after them on "Thrills Pills and Bellaches".  Elbow made a video about them for "New York Morning".  You know them. You have to know them. If you have been to any worthwhile gigs in the U.K. or U.S. in the last 40 years… then you have stood right next to them. That’s if you are down the front, on the right hand side. They are the best music barometer I have had the privilege to call close friends and I will be eternally grateful for their support for our band ‘release’ in NYC in the late 90’s.  They never missed a show and came to EVERY SINGLE rehearsal!  Stories of the years they spent with the RAMONES still send shivers up my spine... I could write a book about them and perhaps I should once part two of this record is in the bag.  DenLo, a NYC institution.

- At least I found out I suck as a writer! WE REALLY like that song.....A LOT! But everything I start to write sounds clichéd, words I've read about songs all my life... nothing original... nothing that 'sparks' anything. It's beautiful soulful mature (in a good way) music and deserves to be reviewed by someone who can be worthy of this song... DenLo

 

JASON FRIEDMAN ON 'MY INSATIABLE WON'

Jason Friedman, blink and he's already round the corner. I believe that without Jason Friedman there would be no beardy-banjo-playing-folky-indie-hipster Williamsburg vibe as we currently know it. Anywhere. Period. He created that 'Brooklyn' thing fifteen years ago and swiftly exited to let everyone else have a go at it. If you don't know THE BOGGS then I hope you will look them up. Their shows resembled a sort of war on the terraces... hooligans brandishing stringed instruments. Musical Mayhem. Beyond 'trend creator', Jason is a remarkably gifted musician, artist, writer, Red and friend. Check out his current project NEW ANCESTORS. - "My Insatiable Won" comes on quietly tight chested, eyes clenched mid nod-off; a distant hymn reminiscent of a Smile outtake playing beside the soft rumblings of a washing machine and wiry fragments of guitar. It’s a moment of shadowed introspection grounded in everyday pathos and medicinal warmth. When the mood then lifts on a bed of synths through fractured noise and radio static into lush soundscapes and chiming percussion, it does so with the feeling of a body pulled from itself.  Set adrift, dislocated, a plaintive guitar drags out along desert roadways, traversing airport terminals, impassable oceans and the synthetic, dead-eyed, mechanics of daily ritual until, following the thinnest intake of breath, the final verse begins with the devastating, “everyone would drown if they swam like you do now.” I’ve been listening to the "Meddle"-era Pink Floyd beauty of "My Insatiable Won’s" three minutes and thirty-four seconds on repeat for an hour straight inventing my own stories, locations, getting hung up on this line and trying to decide if it’s ultimately a song soaked in melancholy or a breaking in of daylight.  Confirming each time, the richness of an emotional arc that can only come from a life lived and a songwriter with a very real truth to tell.

Jason Friedman, blink and he's already round the corner.

I believe that without Jason Friedman there would be no beardy-banjo-playing-folky-indie-hipster Williamsburg vibe as we currently know it. Anywhere. Period. He created that 'Brooklyn' thing fifteen years ago and swiftly exited to let everyone else have a go at it. If you don't know THE BOGGS then I hope you will look them up. Their shows resembled a sort of war on the terraces... hooligans brandishing stringed instruments. Musical Mayhem. Beyond 'trend creator', Jason is a remarkably gifted musician, artist, writer, Red and friend. Check out his current project NEW ANCESTORS.

- "My Insatiable Won" comes on quietly tight chested, eyes clenched mid nod-off; a distant hymn reminiscent of a Smile outtake playing beside the soft rumblings of a washing machine and wiry fragments of guitar. It’s a moment of shadowed introspection grounded in everyday pathos and medicinal warmth. When the mood then lifts on a bed of synths through fractured noise and radio static into lush soundscapes and chiming percussion, it does so with the feeling of a body pulled from itself.  Set adrift, dislocated, a plaintive guitar drags out along desert roadways, traversing airport terminals, impassable oceans and the synthetic, dead-eyed, mechanics of daily ritual until, following the thinnest intake of breath, the final verse begins with the devastating, “everyone would drown if they swam like you do now.” I’ve been listening to the "Meddle"-era Pink Floyd beauty of "My Insatiable Won’s" three minutes and thirty-four seconds on repeat for an hour straight inventing my own stories, locations, getting hung up on this line and trying to decide if it’s ultimately a song soaked in melancholy or a breaking in of daylight.  Confirming each time, the richness of an emotional arc that can only come from a life lived and a songwriter with a very real truth to tell.

RAGEH OMAAR ON 'ADUUS AD SOLEM'

Rageh doing his thing...that being letting all of us know what's up.   While Rageh Omaar has been the BBC World Affairs correspondent, the weekly presenter of “Witness” on Al Jazeera English, the International Affairs editor at ITV, and the host of the excellent documentary "The Ottoman Empire" on BBC2, he is really the drummer for THE SWINDLERS… unofficially the youngest punk band in the U.K. back in 1979. Our repertoire included "Sometimes" by THE STRANGLERS, “Do You Wanna Dance” RAMONES-style, and a thumping “Submission” by the SEX PISTOLS.  We played two sold out shows in Oxford and there have been rumors the band is yet to reform... For the record, Rageh played a wicked improv Bun E Carlos-style drum solo in “Sometimes” and, at the wise old age of 8, explained in detail to me the concept of ‘prejudice’. The best lesson I ever had. - Here are my thoughts on your lovely song…. There’s a haunting and almost dreamlike opening to the track, with a "big sound" reverb blending voice and music which immediately makes you think that the theme of memory is at the heart of this song.  It sounds very much like the music is a vehicle for rummaging through the past. Big beats restart the track as it bursts into life while still retaining its very dream-like ambience especially in the way that the lyrics are delivered. The lyrics are underpinned by the idea of falling... perhaps how falling can be a spur and a positive in the challenge of life.  The title of the song is perhaps a clue – Arduus Ad Solem, striving for the sun... that we shouldn't let anything get in the way - in life as in love.  It's a really evocative yet hopeful song and in some ways reminiscent of the late 60’s Pink Floyd's mood filled sound. "

Rageh doing his thing...that being letting all of us know what's up.

 

While Rageh Omaar has been the BBC World Affairs correspondent, the weekly presenter of “Witness” on Al Jazeera English, the International Affairs editor at ITV, and the host of the excellent documentary "The Ottoman Empire" on BBC2, he is really the drummer for THE SWINDLERS… unofficially the youngest punk band in the U.K. back in 1979. Our repertoire included "Sometimes" by THE STRANGLERS, “Do You Wanna Dance” RAMONES-style, and a thumping “Submission” by the SEX PISTOLS.  We played two sold out shows in Oxford and there have been rumors the band is yet to reform... For the record, Rageh played a wicked improv Bun E Carlos-style drum solo in “Sometimes” and, at the wise old age of 8, explained in detail to me the concept of ‘prejudice’. The best lesson I ever had.

- Here are my thoughts on your lovely song…. There’s a haunting and almost dreamlike opening to the track, with a "big sound" reverb blending voice and music which immediately makes you think that the theme of memory is at the heart of this song.  It sounds very much like the music is a vehicle for rummaging through the past. Big beats restart the track as it bursts into life while still retaining its very dream-like ambience especially in the way that the lyrics are delivered. The lyrics are underpinned by the idea of falling... perhaps how falling can be a spur and a positive in the challenge of life.  The title of the song is perhaps a clue – Arduus Ad Solem, striving for the sun... that we shouldn't let anything get in the way - in life as in love.  It's a really evocative yet hopeful song and in some ways reminiscent of the late 60’s Pink Floyd's mood filled sound. "

RICHIE BIRKENHEAD ON 'THE PILLOW FIGHT'

Richie swinging some 'old skool' back in the 80's.   For those of you who don’t know Richie, he has been a key face on the NYHC scene since the early 80’s.  A member of YOUTH OF TODAY and (still) the front man for legendary NY bands such as UNDERDOG and INTO ANOTHER  (which incidentally has an excellent new release called “OMENS”). I have some good old memories of Richie, one just cruising around NYC with Mark Ryan and Mike Ferraro in '86 listening to the newly released BAD BRAINS album "I Against I". We drove around in circles all day just listening the record… a record that clearly shifted the NYHC sound. Mostly I remember him as a very musical gent. He can really sing… Anyhow… Richie is one of the scallywags from my past that I have asked to write a few words.    - The song covers a vast soundscape of textures and levels of attack... a slow and gradual build… the droning key chords adorned with clever cinematics, then the Gilmour-esque vocals, great lyrics and riffing guitars all collage in massively broad dynamics.  The video is beautiful. There are a million music videos that employ abstract imagery, but this stands out as it is thought provoking. The hypnotic speed of the motion seems to be choreographed to the intricacies of the song. "The Pillow Fight"? In a nut shell… brilliant."  

Richie swinging some 'old skool' back in the 80's.

 

For those of you who don’t know Richie, he has been a key face on the NYHC scene since the early 80’s.  A member of YOUTH OF TODAY and (still) the front man for legendary NY bands such as UNDERDOG and INTO ANOTHER  (which incidentally has an excellent new release called “OMENS”). I have some good old memories of Richie, one just cruising around NYC with Mark Ryan and Mike Ferraro in '86 listening to the newly released BAD BRAINS album "I Against I". We drove around in circles all day just listening the record… a record that clearly shifted the NYHC sound. Mostly I remember him as a very musical gent. He can really sing… Anyhow… Richie is one of the scallywags from my past that I have asked to write a few words. 

 

- The song covers a vast soundscape of textures and levels of attack... a slow and gradual build… the droning key chords adorned with clever cinematics, then the Gilmour-esque vocals, great lyrics and riffing guitars all collage in massively broad dynamics.  The video is beautiful. There are a million music videos that employ abstract imagery, but this stands out as it is thought provoking. The hypnotic speed of the motion seems to be choreographed to the intricacies of the song. "The Pillow Fight"? In a nut shell… brilliant."

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Phil  Veacock 

Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr Phil  Veacock 

I believe Phil Veacock is one of the very few people I know who has actually made a real career from being a musician.  I pick my brains and everyone else has some sort of supplementary thing going on. Hats off to that. Phil of course was the tenor sax man for the legendary punk funk 80’s band THE LARKS before settling down with Jools Holland (founder of the band SQUEEZE) as tenor saxophonist and musical director for JOOLS HOLLAND AND HIS RHYTHM & BLUES ORCHESTRA. Phil has worked with all the true rock royalty… on ‘Later’, Phil played the ‘Lady Madonna’ sax solo with Sir Paul McCartney… enough said… okay.

- The track uses the prescription drug ‘Ambien’ as it’s starting point to invoke a nightmarish ‘Danse Macabre’. Introduced by a limping thump reminiscent of a Romero zombie dragging a broken limb, a recurring chord progression gradually emerges from a filmic post-apocalyptic soundscape, driven by a heavy Clash-style skank into an anthemic horror-show frenzy. The un-resolving chords roll round and round, and, like the protagonists of the song, seem doomed to roam the Earth forever. Finally though, the ‘zombie puppet-heads’ limp off into the distance in a chemical-induced haze. Love it!

 

AURELIO VALLE ON '1999'

Aurelio looking the way it sounds.

Aurelio looking the way it sounds.

I asked old pal Aurelio to review the first track on the album, as Aurelio and his band CALLA are an integral part of my music memories of the end of the last century. Aurelio was always a face in the crowd when we played or at the various clubs such as Pedro Mena's legendary Sunday night 'Shout at Bar 13'. As our band ‘release’ wound down, CALLA were kicking off. They added such an extraordinary cinematic vision to the then tired music scene.  Although I was very proud to see Aurelio gracing my TV screen on MTV a few years later, the band never got the dues I feel they so greatly deserved. CALLA were truly unique act. The first album is an absolute treasure. Aurelio has just released an excellent new album called “Acme Power Station” and I hopeful there are many more great records to come from this old friend.

- "1999" is a great introduction track, it pulls you in with the menace reminiscent of a quiet storm. Slowly rolling through flashbacks of bands like The Stone Roses and early Verve, but at the same time sounding fresh. It leaves you anxious to hear what comes next. If this track is any hint of what the rest of the record has to offer, I'm in."

"

 

BILL DOLAN ON 'THE ADDICTACLIQUE'

That's Bill with the early 80's soccer mullet (wearing white) directly below Ian....I am out of frame to the right, cowering nearer the front door. Photo by Glen E Friedman. Bill is an old old friend. He plays a very special role in my music life as he is the fellow who drove up to my house in South Orange, N.J. on December 18th 1982 and said, "Jump in, were going to see a band called MINOR THREAT at CBGB… you’ll like them". Little did I know that Bill was unlocking an alternate universe that would change the next few years of my life... that alternate universe being the CBGB matinee and NYHC scene with all its remarkable characters and bands of the moment. Ian and co. were late that day, I think their van broke down in the Holland Tunnel. I remember Bill rallying kids to help carry in their gear. I believe I lugged Brian Baker’s or Lyle Preslar’s amp in… some of the way. They opened with “Stepping Stone” and I still feel very privileged to have been there. The gig was insanity. Bill later went on to form his own excellent band with his younger brother Matt called AMERICAN STANDARD. Unfortunately, I never saw them as I had already returned to England before they were kicking around. Fingers crossed for a reunion? Matt come home.... - "The Addictaclique" is a visual experience of a song. The song builds like the screenplay to a movie. It starts like an early sunny morning, where our main character is hopeful and looking for love (online dating?). We are even visited by a haunting female vocal performance that could be speaking to our main character driving him forward in his quest. The crescendos and diminuendos dance perfectly and then slowly build and build and build to our climax, an explosive blockbuster ending where our star is either reflecting on his life, on his deathbed, or perhaps at a virtual altar gazing at his love’s profile ‘scrolling’ up the aisle. Picture this: David Gilmour singing with Stone Roses for the final scene of a futuristic version of "The Graduate"

That's Bill with the early 80's soccer mullet (wearing white) directly below Ian....I am out of frame to the right, cowering nearer the front door. Photo by Glen E Friedman.

Bill is an old old friend. He plays a very special role in my music life as he is the fellow who drove up to my house in South Orange, N.J. on December 18th 1982 and said, "Jump in, were going to see a band called MINOR THREAT at CBGB… you’ll like them". Little did I know that Bill was unlocking an alternate universe that would change the next few years of my life... that alternate universe being the CBGB matinee and NYHC scene with all its remarkable characters and bands of the moment. Ian and co. were late that day, I think their van broke down in the Holland Tunnel. I remember Bill rallying kids to help carry in their gear. I believe I lugged Brian Baker’s or Lyle Preslar’s amp in… some of the way. They opened with “Stepping Stone” and I still feel very privileged to have been there. The gig was insanity. Bill later went on to form his own excellent band with his younger brother Matt called AMERICAN STANDARD. Unfortunately, I never saw them as I had already returned to England before they were kicking around. Fingers crossed for a reunion? Matt come home....


- "The Addictaclique" is a visual experience of a song. The song builds like the screenplay to a movie. It starts like an early sunny morning, where our main character is hopeful and looking for love (online dating?). We are even visited by a haunting female vocal performance that could be speaking to our main character driving him forward in his quest. The crescendos and diminuendos dance perfectly and then slowly build and build and build to our climax, an explosive blockbuster ending where our star is either reflecting on his life, on his deathbed, or perhaps at a virtual altar gazing at his love’s profile ‘scrolling’ up the aisle. Picture this: David Gilmour singing with Stone Roses for the final scene of a futuristic version of "The Graduate"