Into Music Reviews: New Music May 2023
Well, we are into May and we are beginning to see some shoots of decent weather (yes, really). Wandering aimlessly up the back roads with the headphones on is a joy but then again, so is cranking up the volume as the vinyl spins round. Whatever way you listen to music, have a read here for some top tunes and recommendations.
Artist: The Bodines
EPs: The Janice Long Sessions 18.11.85 and 09.07.86
Label: Precious Recordings of London
Now I have a confession to make. As an avid reader of the music weeklies in the mid to late 1980’s, The Bodines were a band I remember featuring quite a bit, sharing bills with the likes of their Creation Records cohorts, Primal Scream and The Weather Prophets. Despite that, they weren’t a band I listened to, more fool me…
Two Janice Long sessions are issued here, both on 10″ vinyl and they capture the band at their jangly, bristly best. Interestingly, the ’86 session is definitely more polished yet it is the earlier, ’85 session that guitarist Paul Brotherton highlights as capturing the band’s live sound. Tracks like Therese and William Shatner shimmer and shine while on the latter dated release, What You Want and Slip Side perhaps capture the band at the height of their powers.
A couple of excellent releases and whether this gets you into The Bodines or helps the completist, you really should check it out. I’m glad I did for I’m now making up for lost time discovering their back catalogue.
For more, head over to the Precious Recordings of London Bandcamp page here.
Artist: The Orchids
EPs: John Peel Sessions 08.05.80 and 09.04.94
Label: Precious Recordings of London
Most people of a certain vintage got their music through the likes of Janice Long and John Peel. Chris Quinn of The Orchids was no different so when he regales the time John Walters phoned his mum’s house to offer a Peel session to his nascent band in the sleeve notes, the palpable excitement really comes across.
First track Caveman is the stand out on the ’90 session. The band were determined to lay it down and do it justice, which they certainly did, while Dirty Clothing is nothing less than exquisite. The EP finishes with And When I Wake Up, a track that was never released yet bursts with harmony.
The ’94 Peel EP sees a more contemplative band, particularly on the more relaxed Patience Is Mine and the funk melody of A Living Ken And Barbie though there is more expanse on the excellent Waiting Seems Vain.
Artist: SUPER 8
Label: The Beautiful Music
SUPER 8 aka Paul “Trip” Ryan has to be one of the hardest working musicians on the scene. This being album number eight in a five year period is clear testament to that. However, with volume can come issues with quality control, but whatever is in the water at chez Ryan is certainly working, this is perhaps his best album during that time.
For My Friends kicks off the album and it is filled with orchestral loops and psychedelic patterns in what is an assured opener. SUPER 8 don’t mind sharing their influences through the songs, this can range (to my ear) from The Hollies to The BMX Bandits via The La’s, sometimes in one song! However, All My Worries really channels the ghost of John Lennon, guitar, piano and vocals come together as one, magical.
Jennifer Anne is steeped in Who-esque rock but also flits to a harmonica based ode and the harmonica also features well on Not Like The Rest.
Talking of SUPER 8, Ryan says “SUPER 8 is predominately me, myself and I. These days, a home studio based one man band would be one way to put it“.
Our Town, with its layered guitar rift is perhaps the best track here, the vocal and the lyrics 100% uplifting. A feel good song, for sure, interspersed with some choice bird tweeting! Moments In Time is another belter, evoking themes of the best Laurel Canyon 60s bands.
Artist: Kevin Robertson
Album: Magic Spells Abound
Label: Subjangle Records in conjunction with Futureman Records
Have to say, this album by Aberdeen’s Kevin Robertson is an absolute breath of fresh air. Yes, it’s reasonably short, coming in at a touch over 25 minutes but it packs a lot into that time and across the nine songs on offer here.
If you like guitar-pop, the jangly the better, hints of 60s melodies yet strikingly refreshing, then this is for you. Candlestick Morning is fast becoming a firm favourite, something new discovered on each listen, Robertson’s vocal angelic, underpinned by a swirling guitar. It is the track that the album revolves around in my opinion.
Make Believe rocks back to the 1960s, that far reaching vocal rising upwards, the musical sound clearly psychedelic, simply spellbinding. Robertson’s background as a singer-songwriter firstly emerged as part of The Vapour Trails but as is here, he is also a solo artist of fine repute.
Elsewhere, Cloak And Dagger is delivered with a more frenetic, up-tempo beat to mix things up a bit, while Autumn Brings simply sparkles. The fret work being the highlight.
This is a fantastic album mixing everything from psych-pop to folk and I suspect we will hear quite a bit more from the talent that is Kevin Robertson. For more, head over to his Bandcamp page here.