= October 2021 =

t’s been a wild ride for everyone this year. Musicians have seen shows and tours cancelled and many have been struggling to survive without a revenue stream, but we are now at long last starting to see a few venues re-opening. I am off to see the Hanging Stars soon, my first concert in quite a while, and I am so looking forward to it.  A lot of artists may have had a bit more time on their hands during this year and many have (with plenty of ingenuity and technology) managed to put out some exciting albums. I have had my mail redirected twice this year, so hopefully nothing that has been sent in has been lost.

But without further ado, off we go for our autumn edition of Rumbles.

Brinsley Schwarz (the man, not the band) has a new album out on the Fretsore record label called Tangled and it’s pretty good. It comes five years after his first solo album ‘Unexpected’. I am sure he will be familiar to anyone reading this as he started recording in the mid sixties and was a mainstay of the pub rock scene in the mid seventies, from the late seventies he has been a long time member of Graham Parker’s band The Rumours. We had to wait a long time for his first solo album so this one is relatively speedy! It includes a fine cover of Graham Parker’s ‘Love Gets You Twisted’. ‘Storm In The Hills’ and the tender ‘You Can’t Take It Back’ are great new original songs, highlighting his observational lyrics of modern life. His economical and laconic guitar solos are scattered liberally throughout the album and are particularly well placed on the moving ‘Stranded’. Elsewhere ‘Crazy World’, is an exquisite song, about these strange times we are all experiencing over the last couple of years. ‘Unexpected’ choogles along nicely and album closer ‘All Day’ wouldn’t be out of placed on a Joe Brown album, it has some fine tinkling of the ivories and drifts out with some fat baritone guitar notes, good stuff Brin. Available from www.brinsleyschwarz.bandcamp.com

Katie Spencer has released a three song EP  Hurt In Your Heart where she, along with Alan Thompson – fretless bass and Spencer Cozens –Piano, synth, cover three John Martyn Songs. Katie plays both acoustic and electric guitars and sings these classic Martyn tunes. The piano and fretless bass add a bit of class to ‘Hurt In Your Heart’, the opening song beautifully sung by Katie. ‘Couldn’t Love You More’, has acres of space, nothing is hurried and notes fall like petals all over it. Another seldom covered Martyn song ‘Small Hours’ taken from the One World album is all the better for being stripped back with minimal production. Katie sings this so sympathetically, giving the song just the right amount of space, one for the wee small hours. www.katiespencer.net 


I received a vinyl record from Heron & Crane called Streams which arrived from the USA unplayable, almost bent in half with a battered cover. I did check them out on Bandcamp though and it is a lovely record which would appeal to many reading this www.heronandcranemusic.bandcamp.com     

Following on from 2019’s terrific debut Sector NINE have just released the follow up titled 7027. It’s a funky, proggy mainly instrumental kind of a record, some of the songs are also a few fairly lengthy, with ‘The Infinity Drive – In’, ‘The Three Guna’ and ‘NUMBER N1N3’ all being close to the ten minute mark. They all know their way around their chosen instruments with Rob Gould playing all keyboards and adding vocals, guitars are played by Phil Craigie and bass by Trevor Pollitt. It’s well worth tracking down if you like knotty prog songs with a funky beat.  www.facebook.com/sectornineband.

The Hawks Obviously 5 Believers.  Dedicated to the memory of guitarist Dave Kusworth, who often asked of Stephen Duffy (the sole custodian of the studio recorded tapes) to release this album which was recorded in 1979/80. The band came together in 1979 and featured Paul Adams, Stephen Tin Tin Duffy who had just left a pre signed Duran Duran, Dave Kusworth, Simon Colley bass and Dave Twist drums. They were one of the bands to from Birmingham in the post punk scene. If you are partial to bands like Television, The Television Personalities and The Soft Boys then you would do well to investigate this release, which sounds excellent due in part to the mould with the storming, broody moves of killer song Aztec Moon and the fact that they recorded live in the studio. Available on seventeen records www.https.facebook.com/obviously5believers


Alula DownPostcards From Godley Moor Spring 2021. True to their word the band has sent me a physical CDr of their new EP to review. The record starts with bleating sheep and a distant pheasant as Kate Gathercole delivers a sparse ‘February Song’. The band consist of Mark Waters and Kate Gathercole and have added a ton of field recordings, like the fast flowing stream in ‘Bridge’ which features a loop of steel strung guitar and nylon strung guitar throughout. It is a mix of originals and traditional songs which mesh together in such a way that you would be hard pressed to know which is which. It’s a lovely thing which is available to download from www.aluladown.bandcamp.com. Some enterprising label should contact the band to see about getting these recordings out in a physical format as together with Postcards From Godley Moor Summer 2020, it would make for a great album of nature inspired folk.


A couple more terrific albums have been released this summer from Sulatron records. The first one is by the Estrada Orchestra called Playground and sees this Estonian band playing some cosmic space jazz. Ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space as the monumental sole track Playground parts one and two is ushered in, the song is split over two sides of a (500) limited clear vinyl, each over twenty minutes long. The band takes in the dreamy synth sounds of Tangerine Dream and the free jazz noodlings of Sun Ra and John Coltrane. The second release is by German psychedelic progressive rock band Elara Sunstreak Band whose second album Vostok 1 has been put out also in a 2- LP 500 copy edition of transparent blue vinyl. The double album has just 4 tracks, opening with a drowning Eastern motif and spacey keys before a heavy riff, some skyward lead guitar and a Sabbathesque number emerges with ‘Nexus’, a scorching heavy rock song. They follow this with ‘On ‘A Drink With Jim’ about the lizard king. The band is made up of Felix Schmidt guitar and effects and Daniel Wieland on bass and vocals and Martin Wieland drums, with some extra mellotron and Hammond played by guest Christian Wick. The slow burn of Vostok 1 has vocals from Felix Seyboth, the album ends on a high with ‘Orange October’. Both are available from https://www.sulatron.com/xoshop/index.php

The Sound In Silence label have been busy putting out albums by The Green Kingdom whose Soleria arrived at the end of March. Green Kingdom is the project of Michael Cottone who uses various electronics and field recordings with acoustic and electric guitars over pads of synth and minimal beats to create a lush, rich instrumental album. They also welcome back Sweeney with Misery Peaks. Sweeney is the vehicle of Jason Sweeney who for the last twenty years has been based in Australia either recording solo or with friends incorporating films and projects for galleries and theatres. Centered around Sweeney’s gentle vocals the album features strings, processed piano and haunting cello samples over various electronics and drones. I am reminded of David Sylvian or Depeche Mode fronted by Scott Walker. More recently the label has released the Cloud Factory by Yellow 6 . Yellow 6 is the solo project of Jon Attwood who has approached this new instrumental album in a slightly different way, using more loops and sustain, stripping right back to a sparser sound, nothing is hurried and the guitars are clear and clean with plenty of ebb and flow. The latest release is by Western Edges whose new album Dependency is an icy delight. Western Edges is the solo project of Hood’s Richard Adams who has a long career with bands such as Hood. Before he was Western Edges he also released a few records as The Declining Winter.  He took as a theme for this new record a reimagining of the sound of techno, garage and ambient music coming out a car radio on an eclectic pirate radio station, mixing in with the buffering air around the hills and valleys of Yorkshire...a journey through remote moorland after a 90’s rave. They are all available from the mighty fine boutique record label Sounds In Silence www.soundinsilencerecords.bandcamp.com in sumptuous CD editions of 300.

RB Morris  Going Back To The Sky  hey I've been to ‘Frisco, Chicago, Seattle, Moosejaw, Okemah, Witchita and Wah Wah and woe is me, I’d go anywhere and I’m beginning to wonder if you can get there from here”, so go the lyrics of ‘Red Sky’ a nice slice of Americana. I don’t know anything about Mr Morris, but what I can tell you is that he has Bo Ramsey on board, co-producing and adding plenty of cool guitar licks. A terrific Dylanesque story song ‘Me And My Wife Ruth’, follows this opening song, which is swiftly followed by another excellent story song in ‘Missouri River Hat Blowing Incident’ where you can see the tumbleweeds and feel the wind, that’s a heck of a good three songs to open an album with. David Mansfield is on hand for violin and mandolin, he has an extensive session musician career and Greg Horne plays some terrific pedal steel throughout. Willie Nelson’s long serving harp player Mickey Raphael is also on board. Elsewhere ‘Under The Cigar Trees’ has a nice mariachi kind of vibe and ‘That’s The Way I Do’ sounds like a dead ringer for Roger Miller’s ‘King Of The Road’. My favourite though is the drifting title track ‘Going Back To The Sky’. It is released on the singular recordings record label available from www.rbmorris.com.


Singer songwriter Malcolm Holcombe shows no sign of slowing down and has just released his umpteenth album called Tricks Of The Trade. He is the real deal, with a grizzled, rough as a cob voice, which suits his tight funky, country kind of songs. Opener ‘Money Train’, has some great cooing female backing vocals, cool rhythms and concise, stinging little guitar solos, one of which almost sounds like prog at one point. Imagine Tom waits singing ‘Street Fighting Man’ by the Stones which might give you an indication of what sort of territory we are in. ‘Misery Loves Company’ is a well observed song about barfly’s and would suit Terry Allen down to a tee.

Of particular note throughout the album is Jared Tyler’s handling of the various stringed instruments on the songs, he never fails to serve the song. Other songs of note are ‘Your Kin’ a song about inequality. ‘Higher Ground’ about hurricanes and migrants, ‘On Tennessee Land’ about self serving politicians and the knowing title track ‘Tricks Of The Trade’.  Available on the Need To Know Music record label. www.malcolmholcombe.com

Gard Du Nord have put together another of their excellent compilation artist albums, highlighting some of their eclectic roster of acts. Ashford International compilation Vol 2.

It’s a collection of digital releases, lathe cuts, remixes or alternative versions and sees quite a few highlights scattered throughout from Twink’s ‘Dreams Turn Into Rainbows’ to Papernut Cambridge’s ‘The Bins’.  Julian’s brother Joss Cope plays a calliope inflected ‘So Said Sun Tzu’. It is an eclectic mix with 23 tracks and along the way it has some nice chamber pop from Aldous Templeton with ‘Are You Happy’. I rather liked Farmer who delights with some whimsy on ‘Light’.  Ex Hefner’s Darren Hayman puts in a plea for a little railway and speaking of Hefner Jack Hayter’s ‘Oh Daedalus’ is an icy thing of beauty.


Elsewhere Ralegh Long’s ‘Night’ (The River) quietly impresses. I have been quite a fan of The Cold Spells since buying their debut album a few years ago, they also put in an appearance with ‘Colours Of Death’ which was released a couple of years ago as a digital single. And there’s plenty more to discover too, like The Forensic Report with ‘They Made A Film About Spike Island’, Ziggy Heroe with ‘Dream Of A Princess’ and Extradition Order’s ‘Turn Off The Engine’. https://garedunordrecords.bandcamp.com

Collecting various songs from their career Brainiac 5 have released Another Time  Another Dimension which brings together some of their early stuff like the first six tracks which were recorded in Cornwall in 1976 – 78 and are in a punky reggae type vibe, this period ends with a cover of Tobacco Road. They add two live songs from the White Horse in Launceston from 1980 with Flying Tonight’ and ‘Do Ya’. The following two are listed as from somewhere in Cornwall ‘I Feel Good’ and ‘The Warning’ which contains some great psych jamming as it progresses. We also get one from 1995 from a trip to the USA with ‘Pain In A Bowl’ then we move on to 2019/20 for the remaining tracks. It’s a mixed bag really, but never less then enjoyable. I really liked their last album and for me personally I prefer the later ones from Ship To Shore, simply because they have been recorded with more clarity and headroom. www.recklessrecords.co.uk

A few cassettes now from the boutique tape label Bluetapes. The first release on the label a few years ago in 2012 was Matt Collins who released a tape with one long track ‘The Grin Without The Cat or The Cat Without An Outline’ Blue One, Now comes Blue One Plus. It was super limited and Matt has revisited it, reinterpreting its ‘aleatoric’ score, mostly beat less but when the beat from the drum does finally arrive, you really notice. Blue Forty by Bulbils the duo consist of Sally Pilkinington and Richard Dawson. They have created a calming piece of music that is both comfortable and spontaneous. Sally’s organ melodies and Richard’s simple repeated bass lines over a motorik drum kit. They include a near forty minute piece entitled Journey Of The Canada Goose and on the other side The Easter Bunny and Holy Smoke. Richard Youngs arrives with Blue Thirty Nine. Richard is nothing if not prolific, releasing his first album back in 1990. He has released stuff on Jagjagwar, VHF, Volcanic Tongue and Appolloaan amongst others. It’s a playful fun project that sees his wordless vocals run through a looper and his 7 string nylon guitar playing still impresses. The press release says of it “I can imagine flappers dancing to it in the 1920’s, stuck in a psychedelic Charleston time - loop”. Also out on Blue Tapes is Obsidian Shard, operating in the same sort of area as say Ratkiller or Suren Seneviratne. It inhabits the area between freeform squalls and a studied composition. Not much is known about Obsidian Shard who is the author of this engaging stuttering mini symphony. Find them all at www.bluetapes.co.uk.


Arriving too late for the last set of Rumbles was Silica Gel whose debut album May Day attempts to adapt songs from the 12th – 14th centuries and bring them into the current one. They are part of the underground music scene in Alabama. They create a kind of Pagan vibe ala Catherine Ribeiro singing Wicker Man out-takes. There are cut ups, woodwind instruments and medieval drones a plenty. It’s possibly the most out there thing that I have heard for quite a while. It is certainly uneasy listening but quite addictively so. I particularly dig the vibe in ‘Judy’, which could be the imaginary theme tune to a movie about Russell Hoban’s Riddley Walker. ‘Dance of The Swine’ and ‘Pan Pan Medico’ are most discombobulating too. Well I’m wide awake now, after that little gem!  Also out on the label is Double VanitiesHow Come Your Sister Doesn’t Know My Name Anymore’.  The project of Matthew Goethe who improvises a two part album on a Ukelin, which apparently is an early 20th century psaltery, it’s a difficult listen to be honest, and could do with a whole lot more variation. Available from www.sweetwreath.com


Minimalism in music time now, with a release from Bill Brovalds’s Stone Soup. Bill was involved in various New York bands like Larval and the Rhys Chatham Ensemble as guitarist and has artist Michael Goldberg to thank for the inspiration for this record when they had a chat in the Bowery a number of years ago whilst discussing minimalism and Michael asked “could you make a minimalist piece that wasn’t repetitive and meandering”. As expected with releasing a project such as this, things move along at a glacial pace, this is the result of that challenge and I think it works and nails the brief, it is quite soothing and obviously, unhurried. www.publiceyesore.com.


The Burner Band recently released the album Signs And Wonders on Shed Load records They have supported the likes of The Legendary Shack Shakers, The Coal Porters and Bob Log 111, it’s a good time British take on Bluegrass really, they make a good job of it. It’s the kind of fare as practised by The Austin Lounge Lizards (f they were relocated to cold, damp London). Lively banjo on ‘Block out The Sun’, tasty pedal steel playing on ‘Company Man’, which shuffles along very nicely. A highlight is ‘You, The Devil And Me’ propelled along on some delicious electric and steel guitars. Cool country rock moves abound on ‘Don’t Have To Listen’. The subject matters veer from murder to mental health. There’s nothing new here but it is certainly one of the better Brit versions of Americana I have heard. www.lewisburner.bandcamp.com  


Yonder Boys are a Berlin based Americana band who have released Acid Folk on Blue Whale records. Recorded with renowned producer Tucker Martine it’s a never less than interesting record. Slippery fiddles, frailing banjos, acoustic guitars, mandolins, keyboards, bass and occasional drums. The band consists of three members who all sing and play; they are also joined by a few guests. ‘Eagle Song’ marries Berlin Life to the freedom of a gliding bird. I have no idea what the ‘The Great American Pussy Grab’ could possibly refer to. ‘Look At what You Done’ rattles along at a fair pace and is not unlike early Dillards.  ‘High On A Mountain’ is Bluegrass with harp and tuba. ‘Mosey On Down’ adds slinky saxophone to a syncopated amble. There’s a sparse and mournful song with ‘House Carpenter’ and the record ends with the bizarre 11 Pece Spada. It’s eclectic but it’s not Acid Folk. www.yonderboys.com


Arriving just too late for this edition but looking very interesting is ZEUK - CROW SPANNER it is limited to just 40 CD copies so I thought I would include details of it before it sells out. Available from davidcwbriggs@bandcamp.com


Right that’s just about it from me until next time. Thanks as ever to the supportive Terrascope family. Happy trails, I hope to see some of you down the line.

Terrascopic Rumbles for October was brought to you by Andrew Young. Artwork, layout & direction by Phil McMullen - © Terrascope Online, 2021