Jeremy Tuplin // The Slaughtered Lamb // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Jeremy Tuplin and his band (The Ultimate Power Assembly) took to the stage in what was an overcrowded and intimate affair in the candle-lit basement of the iconic folk circuit venue, The Slaughtered Lamb.

Opening with the more autobiographical ‘Can We Be Strangers’, the set-list continued with all the songs from his latest album, Pink Mirror, alongside older classics such as ‘O Youth’ and ‘Albert Einstein Song’.

Significantly, the placement of the opening, middle and closing tracks were punctuated by the social commentary on the modern world from new tracks such as ‘Love’s Penitentiary’ and ‘Pandora’s Box’, with ‘The Machine’ placed somewhere in the middle, before closing the night with one of my favourites: ’The Beast’ allowing Jeremy’s own vulnerabilities as a writer to come through structurally in balance to exposing human natures dark sides.

Tuplin’s crowd interactions were nothing short of sharp commentary in-between songs, framing his understated and dry humoured character, levelling that of his singer-songwriter personality. Sharply astute to the trajectory of his laconic lines upon his listeners; we followed his poignancy with equal measures of laughter, often double taking what we heard, re-considering our interpretations before digesting hidden irony.

We fed off his idiosyncrasies and were all here tonight in what Jeremy described to us as an “album awareness concert” for his second album: ‘Pink Mirror’ (officially released: 5 April). We watched on as band and solo performances were separated by the non-performing members covering themselves with white sheets, like little ghouls upon stools. Tuplin even donned a pair of rose-tinted shades for ‘Pink Mirror’, “these are meant to be pink, but you can’t really see that. Well worth 15 quid” he jested.

As the evening developed it was really intriguing how Jeremy engaged with his audience – it was not only the familiar warmth, “It’s great to see so many of you, loads of music people, my friends and family, and strangers too, soon to be friends, I hope” but that role he takes as a performer and writer. His deadpan baritone delivery and half rhyming poetry navigated its way to our hearts. Essentially identifying that we are all flawed human beings, and making light both lyrically and through stage props, offering his performance as a both a piece of art – a gift conjured from dreams – and a sharp depiction of reality.

It is songs like ‘Bad Lover’ where art imitates life; lyrics hint towards his role as a songwriter: “Here we go again yet another account. Whatever’s inside me I’m gonna twist around and spit it out.” Whether that be “..astronaut dreams intended for your escape..or detail all the pieces of my poor broken heart” Jeremy writes to address various issues, either escapist dreamlike stories or personal accounts of heartbreak, for our benefit, and agreeably “altering minds one lyric at a time.”

In reverse, life imitates art with the song: ‘The Machine’; in his day-to-day life as a writer something begs him to question and reflect upon his life and profession: “Then I think of everything I do, think feel or see, it barely contributes to the economy” and yet we do also “suffer these same internal dialogues”.

Whether life imitates art or his art imitates life itself, Jeremy, however consciously, has developed a voice of his own and narrates the chaos of life and the intimacy of desire, vanity and representations of love in a way that is both pensive and witty. He is without doubt one of the most subversive songwriters and performers of our generation.

Pink Mirror is out on 5 April 2019 via Trapped Animal Records & Cargo Records

Follow Jeremy Tuplin on: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Words: Rachael Crabtree (@eccentric_eejit)

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Hanging Valleys // Fortaleza Single Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized
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Heart warming ambient trio, Hanging Valleys

There is something altogether calming and comforting about Hanging Valleys – one song lends itself to the next seamlessly. The London-based three-piece first caught our ear a little over a year ago at the beginning of their formation in 2016 and have since gone on to release a successful debut EP (10th March 2017) and attain an unprecedented 1.2 million streams on Spotify – that pools in fans of Bon Iver and Sigor Ros to James Vincent McMorrow, continues to grow.

Thom Byles, began as a solo artist but quickly realised the ambitious project at stake needed more than one musician and subsequently recruited Mike Phillips (guitar, vocals) and Alexis Meridol (beats, synthesiser) to produce his complete work of art.

Their choice of geographical reference follows through from their band name, Hanging Valleys (an erosional landform) to their style of playing, which in itself, mirrors nature; it is serene, delicate and enduring, swelling and shifting in it’s ambient patterns and a reassuring accompaniment to your minds path as you journey through day-to-day life.

Just as a river runs through Hanging Valleys, leading to a tremendous waterfall – the band’s music is a voyage that opens your mind to adventurous opportunities – you feel genuinely motivated to abandon plans and instead, go travelling – even it that means a long hike across dense woodland and the moors!

Fortaleza (or fortitude, as it translates from Spanish) is the first single to be lifted from Hanging Valleys’ forthcoming second EP. The song is about staying strong, weathering storms and having courage in the face of adversity. You cannot resist pairing their filmic sound with a moving picture of cliffs and costal plains – their layered harmonies surround you in a protective aura, just like the sun as it hits your closed eyes, instant warmth and positivity rivers through your veins.

Check out their accompanying video for their latest single released today (9th February 2018), below…live dates to follow!

HANGING VALLEYS // WEBSITE // TWITTER // FACEBOOK //

INSTAGRAM

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

Bazooka Zougla EP Review

Single, EP and Album Reviews, Uncategorized

BAZOOKA_COVER by Ben Fuog

We reckon the flourishing Athens alternative music scene is something you need to keep an eye on this year. Two acts that caught our attention in particular are Acid Baby Jesus and Bazooka (both psych-punk outfits) who have been producing a constant flow of material, alongside delivering consistently excellent shows across Europe leading to significant (well deserved) recognition.

Bazooka were formed in 2008, in Volos, (native to Centaurs) and consist of singer/guitarist Xanthos Papanikolaou, guitarist Bill Tzelepis, drummer John Vulgaris, Keyboardist Panos Papanikolaou and bassist, Aris Rammos. Within the same year they moved to Athens, the Greek capital underwent a severe economic crisis. Fortuitously, a multitude of DIY squat venues had given birth to an underground musical renaissance paving way to the city’s best punk and psych-rock bands, Acid Baby Jesus and Bazooka.

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One of Athen’s best psychedelic bands, Bazooka (Photo credit: Ben Fuog).

In follow up to their second LP: Useless Generation Bazooka have returned with a 4-track EP, Zougla (Jungle). And it’s exactly what you need for January – a truly fast, psychedelic and very raw record to lift those overcast skies and inject energy into your veins. Chaotic and passionate punk rhythms suffuse with acidic rifts, tipping on the tribal, accompanied by a fiery edged delivery of Greek verse which is, all in all, manically satisfying.

The opening title track (‘Zougla’) begins with a distant animal noise as distinctive as Plant’s wailing cry on Immigrant Song, and when the exceptional progressive guitar riffs kick in, it is suffice to consider this a psych-garage cousin to Led Zeppelin’s classic. Just as the second track (‘Exailosou’) outlines a filmic terrain; atypical desert acoustic guitar with distancing whistling and brass, we are led to the dizzy heady pang of the third track (‘I Diki Sou I Sira’) where subtle parallels are to be had with equal legends, Acid Baby Jesus’ single, ‘You Had It Coming’ (off their 2014 self-titled LP)!

The record is seen out by ‘Thelo Fisi’ a pending drum solo and returning bird noises that meet their mother tongue, culminating in a turbulence of distorted spaced out guitar – let Bazooka tap into your mind here, it’s a voyage through time and space!

“Zougla” [Inner Ear Records] is out now: Inner Ear Records, iTunes, BandCamp

BAZOOKA // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram 

Words: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Introducing // Flare Voyant

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Flare Voyant Press Photo

Psychedelic revivalists, Flare Voyant

There is something so completely timeless about the sound (and aesthetic) of the late 60s, early 70s, that it’s no wonder it’s been the inspiration for so many contemporary musicians. A new band that we discovered just before Christmas is the London-based four-piece, Flare Voyant, who rekindle vibes akin to both The Rolling Stones and The Doors. Their early demos caught the ear of legendary producer, Chris Kemsey (who is recognised for his work with the Stones) who recently went on to produce Flare Voyant’s debut EP (released November 2017).

They saw in the New Year by selling out Dalston’s Rocksteady (a gig we were sorry to miss out on) and are currently preparing videos for their EP tracks (due for release in the coming months). Here’s their most iconic single, Ephemeral Romance, lifted from their self titled EP:

Having realised their potential as a four-piece in early 2015, their effervescent blend of nationalities; Brazilian drummer Lucas Roxo, Greco-Italian-Brazilian guitarist Rod Bourganos, French singer Thomas Baignères and British bassist, George Hudson, have paved way for an iconic style, throwback yet distinctly their own. Their infectious EP effortlessly merges Psychedelia, Blues and Rock n’ Roll, with instrumental progressive jamming and the lead singer’s raspy bluesy overtones drawing them close in comparison at times, to not only The Doors, but to their contemporaries, White Denim – Flare Voyant have a strong alliance with 2018’s cosmos; we’re predicting big things from these!

Join us, by kicking back to their EP and by keeping your eyes peeled for 2018’s gig dates here!

Flare Voyant: Soundcloud // Instagram // Facebook

WORDS: RACHAEL CRABTREE (@ECCENTRIC_EEJIT)

 

Foy Vance // Union Chapel // Live Review

Live Reviews, Uncategorized

Foy Vance; Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will SteadmanFoy Vance turned the Union Chapel into his living room last Friday night, entertaining a 900-strong crowd with his commanding, modern blend of Americana, folk, roots, and blues. Leaving his band at home in Bangor, Northern Ireland; a piano, acoustic guitar, and a ukulele is all that was needed to bring a warm glow to this corner of North London on a brisk Autumn evening.

Opening powerfully at the piano with Unlike Any Other, the audience falls pin-drop silent. Eager grins radiate through the pews like a mini Mexican wave of awe. Vance establishes an immediately casual, intimate atmosphere, drawing the crowd in with his dry wit, self-deprecation and off-the-cuff approach to the set, almost like we’re all sat round a big camp fire. Making use of loop pedals and plenty of chorus effect, he switches between instruments and segues between songs with ease.

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Introduced to his music five years ago by a friend who insisted I listen to a then, little-known B-side called: Indiscriminate Act of Kindness, which he said, is such a perfect example of a well-crafted song, that he teaches it as part of the songwriting degree he runs at a renowned London music college – I’ve seen Vance go from a relative unknown jobbing songwriter to a respected veteran with a top 30 album and a recent tour with Elton John under his belt. Despite all this, he has retained an air of exclusivity about him, and is backed tirelessly by a loyal fan base.

As the night progresses he showcases songs from 2016’s: ‘The Wild Swan’ including Coco and Upbeat Feel Good; favourites Guiding Light and Closed Hand Full of Friends; several shrewd covers including a divine version of Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’ on grand piano and a sprinkling of newer material including Moonshine.

Vance is an artist bold enough and free enough to create precisely the music he wants. Authentic, genuine and committed to his craft, while many contemporaries at his career-stage creatively stagnate or decline, he has matured as a writer and performer. Live he excels. Natural, relaxed and oozing with confidence; playing unaccompanied tonight elevates Vance and provides him the space to showcase his (quite frankly) outstanding voice, which resonates around the Chapel’s gothic interior, filling every dark nook and cranny. Its intricate and rich timbre warms you like a well-aged bourbon.

Performing for well over two hours in total with no encore, capping it off with a moving a capella rendition of The Wild Swans on The Lake, inspired by W.B. Yeats’ poem The Wild Swans at Coole, with the audience dutifully humming the drone.

Foy Vance; (3) Union Chapel; Spiral Magazine; Will Steadman

Vance sold-out the Union Chapel across the three nights, Thursday to Saturday (2nd-4th Nov). His outstanding album, The Wild Swan, is out now.

Follow Foy Vance on Twitter // Facebook

Words and Photography: WILL STEADMAN (@STEADMAN_WILL)