= D e c e m b e r 2 0 1 5 =

elcome to Crumbles, the Christmas edition of Rumbles.

Thanks to the tireless work from our team of writers we seem to have found time to squeeze in another round-up before the year ends. Personally I reckon it has been a vintage year for new music and the quality remains high as this batch will show so let's dive right in with some words from Steve Palmer.

    Emily & Angeline are a duo of English songstresses with a strong Terrascopic connection, insofar as this time last year they were the stars of the legendary FOLK TRAIN. I know Phil is a particular fan of Emily’s wordsmithery and songwriting, and on this, their charming, self-titled EP ("the blue one") they create with voices, guitar, autoharp, xyls, glocks and piano a quartet of oddly beautiful songs. Opening with the haunting 'I Cannot Find The Eye,' the mood is quietly peculiar. 'The Hive' opens with a pair of quirkily dischordant guitar chords... "Do I feel uneasy?" Emily asks the listener. It's a kind of spooky almost-folk from the dimension of the two dolls who Emily and Angeline say they channel... 'The Pursuit Of A Seed' is softly mournful, while 'The Closer You Are' has lovely harmonised vocals. Fey delights for fans of singer-songwritery or neo-folk.


     "La Belle Époque (2010 - 2014)" by Palace Of Swords is a collection of pieces that veer between Krautrock electro slabs and noise/synth explorations of a minimal nature. 'I Am Peter The Hermit (Part 2)' offers a synth loop and distorted voices, while 'The White Goddess (Part 1)' sounds like very early Klaus Schulze experiments merged with VU guitar minimalism. 'Echoes From A Distant Star' matches a nicely phased synth sequence with nothing else, while 'The Castle Spectre' is a similar effort, with percussion. 'The Black Lodge Will Rise Again' is a slab of Krauty thrum, 'Deer Park' again uses Neu-style minimality of rhythm, 'Live At The Aberdeen Witch Trials 1597' has a nice cosmic edge provided by oscillating arpeggios, 'The Temple Of Golden Rays' drifts a synth solo over a Riley-esque sequence, while 'Aesthete Cured' does indeed have a touch of The Cure about it - in drum machine mode, anyway. Album closer '(We Are) The New Hyperboreans' floats a nice synth solo over meandering percussion. One for synth fans. (no contact details)

     Blackheart Honeymoon on their album "Mountains Speak" offer the listener a full country rock band and some good tunes, somewhat in Parson Red Heads mode, with dual male/female vocals. The melodic 'Mountains Speak' opens the fray, with production values high and hearfelt singing. Not bad at all. 'Bodies' sounds like it was designed to be the single - tuneful and radio-friendly (nothing wrong with that of course). Again, the dual male/female vocals work really well; this is a strong point of the band. 'Erskine Proxy' ramps up the country angle a tad with its pattering drum pattern and mournful chord sequence and tune, while 'Can't & Won't' is more of a lope. 'Yesterday (In Loving Memory)' is very slow and sad, but beautifully played, in waltztime, and very strongly sung. A notional side two opens with the adrenaline-fuelled 'Love It All' and 'Rapid Mutation,' which is slower and again pits Ian Prebo's vocals perfectly against Adrienne Marie Pollock's. The album ends with 'Don't Look At Me,' where the upright bass works really well, as do the piano and vocals. A reprise of the opening track closes the album. It won't work for everyone, but the songs are strong, and notably well sung. Fans of The Parson Red Heads could go for this big time.


     "Ursa Minor" by Björn Kleinhenz is an album by a musician who has enjoyed a long-standing solo career (eight albums and lots of gigs) but who has now put together a band of friends to create more of a full group work. The album details, and was inspired by, a bad patch in Kleinhenz's life, but the experience of making the work and drawing it out for the band to interpret has made him a stronger man. (And the title is self-referential: Bear, Small.) 'Jump' is a powerful opener, darkly dramatic, with slow tempo and fairly minimal instrumentation, although the full chorus vocals add to the emotional effect. Kleinhenz is a confident singer. 'King Of Clowns' has his voice near and intimate, with another dramatic band backing, and a fine chorus. 'Raymond' utilises Ebba Jacobsson's voice to great effect, while 'Lonely Hunter' has another anthemic chorus, here enlivened by various string instruments. 'Deamons' has a particularly doom-laden (or, at least, blackly melancholic) production, with bass to the fore and another very nice string section orchestration. 'Braveheart' is a bit more uptempo, with another lovely interplay of guitar, strings and voices, and another great chorus - an album highligh. 'Tagerod' matches a soft honky-tonk piano to a heartfelt vocal, while the title track, closing the album, is elegiac and gorgeously sung. A very good listen, this; an album whose music rises and flows to sometimes enthralling effect. (www.jellyfant.com)

    Thanks, Steve, now it is my turn to lead you through some interesting and sometimes disorientating new sounds beginning with a quartet of releases from Adaadat, a label that concentrates on experimental electronic music that steps into dance genres yet remains interestingly Terrascopic and stretches musical boundaries. First up is “Acid Waltz” by CDR, basically the vision of Tokyo based Hikaru Tsunematsu, his music mixing beats and old school acid sounds in a frenzied clash that is fast and unrepentant your brain hardly having the chance to keep up with all the changes in texture and sound. Over 16 tracks the listener is taken on a rollercoaster journey through noise, rhythm and chaos the melodies kept short adding brief moments of clarity to the pieces the music constantly changing and evolving to often dizzying effect.

    On the same label,four-piece band Rutger Hauser exhibits a similar cut and paste technique to their music, their self-titled album mixing pre-determined structure with improvisation, guitar riffs blended with samples, loops and beats, the results sounding somewhat like Zappa's early experiments, Laurie Anderson creating Musique Concrete or the soundtrack to a demented art film from the late sixties. With the guitar taking the minimalist style of the Velvet Underground to the next level “N-N-N-N” has a hypnotic/droning quality to it, whilst “Red Detachment Of Women” elevates the guitar to centre stage with a grungy riff that stomps through the track coated with all manner of other noises and found sounds. To end “Liquorice Pipe” flows like a surreal radio show a more reflective track, that drifts along blending ambience with spoken word samples and wildlife, finding beauty in both.

   Definitely not easy listening the music of Venta Protesix is harsh and problematic, pure electronic tones trashed and distorted then cut and pasted into a bewildering soundscape. Working in the genre Laptop Micro-Autism (me neither) the tracks challenge the notion of what is and isnt music especially when you suddenly find yourself listening to extract from Japanese porn as you do on “Futunari Princes”, whilst titles such as “Excessive Vaginal Wetness”, “Sperm on Glasses” “Wrist Cutting Loli” or “Looking for Vomit Gore Videos on the Internet” only add to the sense of unease that the music creates, the soundtrack to a video game from your nightmares.

     Whilst the previous three releases are to be found on CD, the final offering from Adaadat is a split 12” featuring CDR/DJ Topgear with the former creating a free-flowing collage of beats and electronics that has a trippy atmosphere, whilst the latter offers a couple of slices of Breakcore noise, cut up beats swirling around in a frenzy both energetic and confusing but strangely compelling at the same time. (at the time of writing the website seemed to have been hacked)

    Visualised as a modern classical piece but sonically recorded as a rock album, “Echoic Enchantment” is a 56 minute piece composed by Martin Archer (Music) and Bo Meson (words), with both men contributing to the performance. Using strings, prepared piano, electronic treatments, percussion, double bass, organ and glockenspiel, the music has a vast and sprawling nature, the opening sections allowing the bass to build the tension until droning strings and percussion solidify the musical landscape allowing the words to dance between the notes. With some instrumentation based on loose structure and other improvised there is a delightful balance between flow and dischord, the music having an vitality  and tension that lifts it from Minimalism kinto more Avante Garde territory suggesting the kind of music early Tangerine Dream would have made had they been an orchestra. With the words sparsely scattered throughout the piece it is the music that pulls you in, engaging, sometimes challenging, always interesting and fans of Cage, Stravinsky, free jazz or the music of Henry Cow and Slapp Happy may find much to enjoy. (http://discus-music.co.uk/catalogue-mobile/dis52cd-detail)

    Changing tack completely, the music of Tracy Shedd, is both melodic and easy on the ear, her intimate songs washed with sweetness although the lyrics walk the well worn melancholic path beloved by the singer/songwriter. Throughout “Arizona”, her latest release, the music just glides by, lyrics catching your ear, melodies planting themselves in your brain, the tunes held together by the voice which reminds me of Kristin Hersh with its aching quality.  Highlights for me include the pop happiness of “Take A Ride” and the gentle strum of “Boats” whilst a cover of “Teenage Riot” (Sonic Youth) is a surprise ending to the collection, the tune revelling in its acoustic setting. (https://tracyshedd.bandcamp.com/)

    With just three track to be found on a soundcloud page Rusty Rope are the new project of French musician Laurent Meunier, the music a bright and breezy take on folk music with “Rusty Rope” having a gentle pastoral ambience, strummed guitar and electronics blending together to create something that has a quiet magic within. On “The Holy Mountain” a similar ambience is found, whilst “City of Monkey God” allows the electronics more room, an echoed guitar giving the track a mellow Floydian ambience that is perfect for a sunny afternoon. (https://soundcloud.com/rusty-rope)

    Now a few words from Sean Gibbins, a man making a brief foray into the world of Rumbles, thanks Sean.

Bleed is the stunning, bold and delightfully eccentric début from Messrs Dunning (Graham, turntable and effects), Webster (Colin, baritone sax), and Underwood (Sam, tuba). Whatever your imagination constructs of this combination of instruments, I virtually guarantee that what you’ll hear is different. Experimental in the extreme and in turns comforting and disturbing, this is probably not the ideal soundtrack to your first trip after a decades-long lay-off, but then again maybe it is if you want your brain totally reset by this amazing, atonal, occasionally animalistic palate of texture, tone and noise. Honking droning farting tweeting scratching thumping snorting snuffling whistling beautiful NOISE, that often borders on the comical but thankfully never strays into farce, and is guaranteed to expand your boundaries if you’ll only let it.

Arenna – “Given To Emptiness” (http://bit.ly/1Oa5ZxY)
It’s funny how these things go. Had you asked me a couple of months ago if I knew of any Spanish rock bands I would have answered emphatically no. Ask me now and I can name four, with Arenna joining the likes of Rosy Finch, Pyramidal and Domo with this vinyl/digital/CD album called Given To Emptiness. It kicks off with three tracks very much in the stoner vein, and I was somewhat surprised to get a bit of a Rush flashback off the opening tune. For me though the album really opens up with Chroma and Move Through Figurehead Lights, the fourth and fifth tracks, fulfilling a promise for the music to ‘break loose and become magic’. After reverting to more slow, grinding guitar on The Pursuer, Given To Emptiness closes out with Low Tide, a lovely short acoustic guitar number to gently soothe your thoroughly abraded mind after all that hypnotic stoner chug.

Typically when you hear the phrase ‘mixed-bag’ it indicates a mixture of good and bad, but in the case of Carey Grace's "Tygerland" I am happy to report that it is all good… very good in fact. With the mixture of electronica and conventional instrumentation the Progressive/Psychedelic/Alt tag in the blurb mostly covers it in terms of a suitable description, but I’d also throw in Pop and Rock too. Cary’s voice is clear and confident throughout, delivering the sort of lyrics you really want to explore, variously accompanied by gorgeous guitar sounds and swirling synths. One of the the things that piqued my interest in the aforementioned blurb was the presence of Steffe Sharpstrings in the line-up on five out of the eight tracks, and it’s nice to hear Steffe in a different mode for most of his contributions, although there’s definitely a hint of vintage Here & Now and his more recent glissando style in the last track, a 20-minute epic of improvised accompaniment overlaid with spoken-word poetry. Another Gong link is supplied in the form of Graham Clark, who along with Spencer Cullum Jr. guests on “Into the Indigo”, adding to the breadth and depth of this lovely recording. (http://www.carygrace.com/)

Now Andrew Young leads you on.

Other items of interest out at the moment, a couple of things on the German label Atemwerft, the first Martin Lau "Numen" www.atomwerft.de is probably in a field of its own. It's a record consisting of nothing but the human voice, using glottis, throat and tongue in a series of often disgusting/disturbing sounds, sometimes multi tracked, it's about breathmusic, throatism, choking and vocal tics. Also out from them is Teresa von avila a project celebrating the 500th birthday of Spanish mystic Teresa Von Avila recorded by Martin Schmidt ( music ) Jela Bauer ( voice ) it's a mix of ambient music and poetry that I enjoyed although my German is negligee.                                

Three releases on the Front and Follow label www.frontandfollow.com. Shape Worship "A City Remembrancer" the first of these, is a concept piece about London, with songs about Mudlarks, the Heygate estate, Tamesis etc, it's the work of Ed Gillett who fuses ambient techno mixed with snippets of conversations about a variety of London issues, producing a great distillation of a pulsing city in all its kinetic guises. Next comes an EP from The Doomed Bird Of Providence ' You Bought The Knife ' an Australian group that are not unlike a transposed Pogues in sound and these five songs are further fleshed out by Katie English and Joolie Wood adding flutes and strings, it's also another concept, this time on the life of Maria Murray, a slave and convict, sent down for murdering her soldier boyfriend, it's a grim slice of early Australian history. The last release on this label is from Laura Cannelloni 'Beneath Swooping .'essentially either fiddle or double recorder are the only instruments on offer on this bunch of instrumentals and she's either sawing away like a good un' or blowing like a bandit on songs that could have been recorded anytime and often are unadorned and primal in their simplicity.            

Which brings us on to Hand Of Stabs 'Barnfield Pit' a three piece from Rochester, Kent. Well now this record consists of one song and is a challenge. They have performed so far, in places such as a remote church, a RSPB nature reserve, a ruined school and a Bronze - Age burial mound amongst others. They either bash, or scrape out sounds on a variety of home made instruments or deconstruct the reedy skronk of a saxophone or some such woodwind instrument and allow the piece to ebb and flow and you do get the hang of it in the end. It's also quite frightening, out there and unique. These guys don't care a jot for niceties and have produced a brutalist piece of art, they also have the seal of approval of Billy Childish and Sexton Ming among others,but they are unlike anything else on the so called 'Medway scene'.

The brainchild of Dean Garcia (formerly of Curve) SPC ECO 'Dark Matter' is on Saint Marie records www.saintmarierecords.com. Here he employs singer Rose Berlin who also wrote all the lyrics. This is a new direction for the band and is full of dark and light. Dreamy vocodered vocals purr amidst depth charge deep beats, it warrants repeated plays where it yields up some very clever music in a trip hop/ hip hop style.

Rose has a very appealing voice that sounds perfectly at home in this setting, icy and aloof.  I am sure that listened to through headphones some of these bass notes would sink to your very soul, they are so deep. It sounds very modern in the way it is produced, perfect late night listening, electronics bleep and glisten, flickering in their narcotic fug, at times murky and submerged, pure and crystalline at others.

Standout tracks are 'Creep In The Shadows', 'Playing games' and 'I won't Be Heard'. Nothing sounds at all forced and it all flows very seamlessly, creating a fine record of narco dream pop

From the Greek Island of Crete come Thee Koukouvaya, by way the of New York electronic duo John O'Hara and Brian Wenckebach. These sonic adventurers dwell in a post-rock, ambient world, creating a sound of meticulously programmed drum patterns, glacial synths ,and luxuriant drones. 'This Is The Mythology Of Modern death' on Saint Marie records www.saintmarierecords.com is a great blend of the organic and the mechanical, analogue synths burble and pulse throughout over a bed of beats, Sci-fi sounds for space age kids.

I detect a few 'house music' shapes here and there, but nothing too scare me off too much, done with a lightness of touch it adds some texture. We also have a few Phat beats too, which push the record into the rave scene on occasion, however the track that this takes place in is the single Chicago Wharehouse Party 1995' so I'll let them off! .

Standout tracks are 'The Magnetic State', 'Drunk Machine,' 'Phantoms In The Last Age' and 'Prismatic Sun'. These guys know their way around a synth or two, playing mostly instrumental tunes, with Yuki Chikudate, Mandy O'hara and Evagelia Maravellas vocalasing on three of the songs. They create a hybrid mix of experimental/electronic/ambient/shoegaze/dance music, if you like.

Mark Van Hoen 'Nightvision' is again on Saint Marie records. Founding member of Seefeel and member of influential band Locust Mark is now living in LA and this latest record was recorded partly there and also in New York between 2008 and now.

After being played a Stockhausen record by his music teacher as a 13 year old he fell in love with the otherwordly sounds that this record contained. He developed a taste for the kosmiche sounds of bands like Tangerine Dream, whose Edgar Froese a couple of the tracks from this are named after.

Working in TV for a while in the 90's, whilst running a club night at Vox club in Brixton, and involved with Seefeel and Locust (who he made another record with a couple of years back). He continued making hypnotic drone-based electronic music, releasing records on the plethora of labels that reflected his love of all things synth, making music with a distinctly cosmic feel, awash with hazy synthscapes and heavily treated beats. He currently curates Dublab, has worked with Neil Halstead (Mojave 3) and contributed to Holtons Opulant Oog and Sing Sing amongst others.

His new record is a perfect blend of synthetic sounds with a few processed vocals, atmospheric and engaging. If you like synthesiser music you should get a copy of this, it's great. Standout tracks for me are the aforementioned 'Froese requiem parts 1 and 2', 'Socrates Book' , 'Kojiiki' and 'I Love To Fly'. This is a fine record for lovers of all things German, it wouldn't seem out of place on the Brain label. Great synth action.

This is called Night Vision for a good reason, it's a disc for the wee dark hours, for astral voyagers with a liking for the twinkling of keys, dripping with notes that point the way to the distant stars, out in the inky night we go, into a brave new world. This is such a well produced record too. It's a real grower and the best of the recent Saint Marie releases. Highly recommended

Third solo record for Paolo Spaccamonti and purely instrumental. After working with the likes of Ben Chasny, Mike Watt and Damo Suzuki, he pretty much does everything himself on 'Rumors' , with help provided on extra beats, plus a few drum and cello assists. Straight out with a fine opener, this is very much in soundtrack territory, crisply played prog rock.

'bonnie & bonnie' , is a winner, as is riffing rocking 'croci/flamme'.'Giorni contati 'sort of hints towards bolero rhumba jazz , 'Seguiamo le api' drifts in like a foggy ocean mist, revealing a ghost ship in it's midst, great metallic sheets of electronics create a real atmosphere. 'Sweet en' acoustic strummery giving way to scything chopping electric guitar and slicing. Still with keening electronics we drift into 'navigare a vista' beams set low, a soft rock number with prog overtones appears, pizzicato and groovy, with a nice degree of keyboard and some gentle rippling electric guitars, helping things out, it has a nice momentum to it, as it builds and moves through, great stuff.

'il delinquente va decapitato' rather bullies its way in with its heavy rock riffing, primal, short and blunt, then it just ends. Next is a very Piano Magic type motif on the leccy putting us back into slow beams, down low lights. Stately violin appears through the guitar and the whole thing is a nice cheery number' io ti aspetto' a gentle well paced, unadorned, unfancy electric guitar/violin interlude. And so we comes on the last song'Fango'pulled tight, wound up then poured out like honey, curlicues of guitar adorn the steady electric crunches with an electric organ appearing, glitshy and urban chic. Very good record indeed.


Moving swiftly along, a trio of cassettes that have arrived recently, with “Fancy Itch” from Forest of Tongue coming across like a frazzled Galaxie 500 with a penchant for drone and guitar melody, the resulting songs carrying a beautiful awkwardness that makes them both tender and confusing. Over 9 songs the band maintain both energy and quality, shades of Devo, Talking Heads and Zappa, to be found in the stuttering rhythms, interesting lyrics and overall variety, with “Gummy Gremlins” being a fine highlight for me, stoned funk for the underground scene and highly listen-able. (http://bit.ly/1k4pQ3N)

    Next up, another old friend of the Terrascope this time courtesy of Woolf Music - Stereocilia, whose “Slow Motion” album is basically the work of John Scott, his guitar, synth and sampler, the music consisting of four thickly textured pieces that creep and slide into every corner of the room, filling it with droning loveliness and slowing down time. Throughout the pieces generally undulate gracefully, the odd splash of harshness offering contrast that slowly dissolves back into the whole. Finest of all the tracks is the 15 minute “Undertow”, the track containing the mellow ambience of early seventies Floyd, a sweet pillow of sound that echoes around the room in drifts of light, beautiful and relaxing, the sound of tranquillity at its best. (https://stereocilia.bandcamp.com/album/slow-motion)

    Finally some magnificent Kraut styled sounds from Norwegian outfit Alwanzatar and Wepwawet, their latest release “”To Ritualer I Vigelandsmausoleet” containing two very long life pieces that mix flutes, acoustic guitars, old synths and loopers into a cornucopia of musical delight that bring to mind Ash Ra Temple, Amon Duul 2, Tangerine Dream etc. Billed as ritual music, the tracks were recorded live in the tomb of artist Emanuel Vigeland, the walls of said tomb decorated with cosmic imagery dealing with life death and the afterlife, the barrel shape of the space creating mind blowing reverb that lifts the pieces into the stratosphere. With both tunes ebbing and flowing between softness and more experimental noise, the music is always controlled and held just this side of chaos, creating something that is both Kosmiche and trippy whilst keeping a mellow flavour that tastes divine. (http://bit.ly/1RqDWuw)

  OK, back to the shiny silver things with a dose of good old Rock and Roll from  Mercy Choir, whose latest collection “Sings In The traditional Rock And Roll Style” contains seven original tunes that are preceded by a great cover of “Turn Me Loose”, the band sticking to that traditional style whilst injecting plenty of energy and passion into the song. With “ Waabaayo” continuing with the boogie piano and sing-along-chorus approach it is up to “Where Is My heart” to change the pace, a lovely ballad that is perfectly balanced, melancholy and sweetness equally realised. After this start that album becomes more collective with “Bird” opening gently before some sleazy Rock and Roll guitar takes over, whilst “Angry Crow” has a dirty Rockabilly vibe that reminds me of The baboons. To End, “Birdwatcher” is a great tune that remind me of Blue Oyster Cult for some reason, must be the drifting keys or vocal delivery, whatever it is the song a final flourish that will remain in your head long after the album has finished. (https://mercychoir.bandcamp.com/)

   Featuring Joey Molland and Joe Vitale, as well as a guest appearance from Gary Duncan, “Madison Park” is a beautifully produced collection of seventies rock from The Raz Band. God time from start to finish the album has greasy horns, rock guitar, great hooks, a polished sound and playing that is tight but loose, with opening song “$1.50” containing all those elements whilst “What Love Can Do” concentrates on a simple guitar riff, vocals hooks and even uses the word laundromat. Over the course of an hour, the album is a fun packed selection of tunes that blend rock, blues, soul and funk into a rich and satisfying whole that keeps you singing along and grooving around the house. Of course it breaks no new ground at all, but that hardly seems the point, it is highly enjoyable, does not tax the old grey matter and your whole family can listen comfortably, sometimes that is good enough. (http://www.gonzomultimedia.co.uk/)

    Sometimes I think the most Rumbled band of all is (for some reason) The Destructors, a UK based old-school punk band who seem to release stuff on a remarkably regular basis. One reason for this is their series of split EP's, with “Deus Luna” being the latest the band sharing time with The Malingerers, who I imagined would be the usual noisy fare, but in fact, turned out to be a country/blues band with a good-time feel as proved by “Good Time Bottle” a lively opener that you can drunkenly shout along too. More melancholy, “Boy from Fermoy” has tinges of folk in its down beat ambience, whilst the band's final offering “So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed” sounds just like you hoped it would, excellent stuff. Something of a contrast The Destructors then take over with the three chord thrash of “Up and Atom” the band sounding like they normally do, thank heavens, whilst a cover of “Release the Bats”  (The Birthday Party) sees them adopt a more punk/psychobilly approach before “Gentleman Jack” gets you moshing around the kitchen spilling the gravy. (http://www.destructors.co.uk/)

  After all that noise let's restore some harmony with “Old School, New Rules”, a delightful; collection of melodic songs from Wilson, A Dorset based four-piece that includes Simon Felton from Pink hedgehog Records. With the stated aim of writing melodic songs with the emphasis on harmony the album is as sweet as the sherry your grandma drinks on Christmas day, the tunes gently wrapping you in a warm and nostalgic blanket that feels real good. Opening track, “Long Road” mixes C,S&N, with The Carpenters, whilst “Pretty Girl in a Small Towns” has the feel of Elvis Costello in its honey soaked grooves. Throughout, the tunes are a delight, each one another excellent choice in the aural chocolate box you get to munch through with “Waiting For Your Turn” sounding like America with its acoustic strum and harmonies, the album ending with the piano led “Peace of Mind”, the notes falling like icing on a mince pie, the whole collection the ideal way to relax and digest that turkey, or vegetarian equivalent. (http://www.pinkhedgehog.com/)

   Of course, some of you may need something more downbeat and maudlin as you escape to your cave whilst the in-laws bicker about who forgot to buy the batteries and why the rum has all gone. In that case, “Escape Route” from ZXELECTRIC may be what you need, a lo-fi and minimalist collection with twisted vocals, fragile atmospheres and a distant feel. Opening track “Saving Grace” sounds like Eno period Roxy Music right in the middle of a chaotic LSD experience, that part where nothing makes sense and the silence is deafening. Elsewhere “Balanced” has a doomy seventies soundtrack electronics feel, whilst “Parallel” sounds like Vangelis at the same party as Roxy Music. Deep inside the collection however, there is a fragile icy beauty that slowly reveals itself each time you listen, a grower but not for everyone. (https://zxelectric.bandcamp.com/)

     Based on the growth and decline of a rural village, Including its Pagan roots and Christian heritage, “To Speed the Plough” is folk influenced collection of songs from Ric kemper. Over ten songs Ric weaves his tales with acoustic guitar, sparse percussion and his soft yet effective voice, the results sounding like a privately pressed album from the early seventies. Highlights include the delightful “Plough Monday”, and the hypnotic nursery rhyme feel of “Sing Bird Sing”, the whole album rounded off with the six minute “Yew Trees” complete with chiming bells and a lysergic sheen. The type of album that gets better with repeated listens, a concept album without pretensions. (https://ricsongs.bandcamp.com/)

     Based in my home county of Herefordshire, Vaginapocalypse have been entertaining happy punters with their folk tunes and humorous, sarcastic and pithy lyrics for a few years now. Now they have distilled their sound into a five track EP that has energy, emotion and shows the balance between their sweet harmonies, and their observations on modern life and love. Opening track “Ferryman” begins as an almost traditional folk tune, complete with a droning cello, before the lyrics change tack and the energy levels suddenly rise becoming a tune that is never gonna get any radio play. Dealing with the ambivalent nature of, err, nature and eco issues “Nature” is another intriguing tune that is followed by the excellent “Scrumpy Twats” which discusses situations most of us are familiar with in some way or another. Showcasing their voices, A beautiful accapella rendition of the traditional “Silver Dagger” proves the band is more serious than some of their lyrics may suggest, the collection rounded of by “Woods”, a tale of shenanigans deep in the woods that will make you smile, although your granny probably shouldn't hear it. Trying to find a link to actually buy this CD is proving difficult and the version on soundcloud has a different tracklist, worth a listen though. Ignore that last bit, their bandcamp page has now been found, I have no idea why it proved so elusive yesterday. (http://bit.ly/1Oy5k3V)

   To finish Rumbles for this year a couple of 7” singles, with The fallen leaves getting you into a folk rock/garage groove with “Out In A Forest”, shades of Love and the Byrds to be found in its mellow fruitfullness and catchy vocals whilst the flipside “The Inside of a Chair” is a more energetic tune that oozes attitude and mod cool. (https://marketsquarerecordings.bandcamp.com/)

   Released on Totally Punk, our final offering is a split single with our old friend Bevis Frond getting mellow and reflective on the rather lovely “After You” a soft guitar motif and gentle lyrics adding up to a delightful listen, Nick's guitar always worth hearing. Taking up the other side Thebrotheregg  also delights as “Murky Up The lagoon” maintains the mellow autumnal feel, the addition of strings offering an emotional ache to complete the songs beauty. (http://www.totallypunk.com/shop/)

Thanks as ever to everyone who has helped with Rumbles this year, it has been a pleasure, have a great Christmas and see you on the other side.

   Terrascopic Crumbles for December was brought to you by Simon Lewis with Steve Palmer, Andrew Young and Sean Gibbins. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen - © Terrascope Online, 2015