Cheer-Accident – Putting Off Death

I’m new to Chicago’s Cheer-Accident but their recent album ‘Putting Off Death’ suggests that I’ve been missing out. Their sound here seems to blend the more accessible end of avant-prog (RIO types Art Bears and King Crimson side project McDonald and Giles spring to mind) with an almost chamber pop sensibility and taste for subtle arrangements. The more piano-centric moments are reminiscent of Field Music and Robert Wyatt. Excellent stuff – one of my favourites of the year so far.

People Like You – Variations on an Aria

‘Verse’, the recent sophomore album from Boston’s People Like You, is a very lovely piece of work indeed. Self-identifying as ‘indie jazz’, the band’s arrangements are thoughtful and charming, swooning trumpet weaving between intricate guitar arpeggios and skittering, off-kilter drums. Occasionally their emo punk roots show through (not particularly my cup of tea) but it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. I’d recommend it to fans of The Sea and Cake (especially Sam Prekop’s cult classic solo debut), American Football and perhaps Yo La Tengo – anyone who’s been missing Liverpool’s Glossom since they disbanded would also be well-advised to investigate.

Cartwheels on Glass @ The Studio, Widnes

Just realised I’d forgotten to put a post up about the show I’m playing tomorrow night (Friday 11th August) with Cartwheels on Glass at The Studio on Lacey Street in Widnes. It’s a packed bill also featuring Paddy Steer, Salt the Snail, Greg Oldfield, Outside the Day, Chinsniffer, Liam Blackburn, Mums and Finn Harbour. We should be on at about 8:30pm and it’s free entry!

More info available on the Facebook event page here…


Hampshire and Foat – Galaxies Like Grains of Sand

‘Galaxies Like Grains of Sand’ is the wonderful recent album on the Athens of the North label from Hampshire and Foat, a collaboration between the eponymous leader of The Greg Foat Group and Warren Hampshire from Isle of Wight natives The Bees. They present a spectral, instrumental blend of jazz, folk and soul which at times could pass for the kind of vintage library music that Jonny Trunk might unearth in a Bridlington attic. Some may be tempted to dismiss such an exercise as retro-fetishism but spend any time with this record and you’d be hard-pressed to deny its unassuming warmth and gentle, low-key charm.

Oddfellow’s Casino – Oh, Sealand

I have an unusual relationship with Oddfellow’s Casino. I bought their 2005 album ‘Winter Creatures’ about six years ago and developed a very strong emotional tie with a couple of the tracks on there (suffice to say, I was in a weird place at that time). It was a lovely album but for some reason a felt a bit uneasy about buying more, in case it stirred the similar confused feelings. Being on a bit more of an even keel(!), I’ve finally gotten around to picking up another album of theirs, the recently-released ‘Oh, Sealand’ and it’s marvellous – one of my highlights of the year so far for sure.

Leader David Bramwell specialises in a gentle, wistful blend of folk, dream pop, hauntological sounds and maybe a hint of jazz (with the odd jolt of psychedelic turbulence too). He is often compared to Robert Wyatt – an understandable link given his unforced, delicate vocal delivery. You could also draw comparison with the likes of Bill Fay, mid-to-late period Talk Talk and Pentangle – he also finds kindred spirits among contemporaries like Hamilton Yarns, Coldharbourstores, Daniel O’Sullivan, Grasscut (the band of Wyatt biographer Marcus O’Dair no less) and the more bucolic moments in the output of the Ghost Box label. The second track featured here includes spoken word contributions from authors Alan Moore and John Higgs! It’s very nice to make up for lost time and catch up with this most charming of English music-makers.

Getintothis reviews Cartwheels on Glass

The Getintothis team had some very nice words to say about the first track to emerge from Cartwheels on Glass (which features me on guitar alongside Lovecraft and Organ Freeman alumni) ahead of our appearance at Deep Cuts #7 ft DANYE, Beyond Average, The Racket & more at Buyers Club in Liverpool next Thursday evening (3rd August). Scroll down a bit, our review is about halfway through…