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News from Neptune – Dim and Distant

It’s been a quiet year on the News from Neptune front… until now! Here is the new single ‘Dim and Distant’, available to stream and download for £1 from Bandcamp and stream and share on both SoundCloud and YouTube.

It’s a sunny, positively giddy pop diversion, not necessarily a sound I’m likely to pursue in the long term but but hopefully a worthwhile excursion. It’s inspired by the vague, fuzzy memory of sitting with my mum as an impressionable young lad watching a Paul Simon VHS.

RIYL (or in fact, if you like this, have a listen to) The Durutti Column, King Sunny Ade, Super Mama Djombo, Paul Simon, ‘The Indestructible Beat of Soweto’, Rail Band, Talking Heads, Orchestra Baobab, Celestine Ukwu, the output of Awesome Tapes from Africa…

The track was mastered by the esteemed Carl Saff of Chicago. The artwork, namely ‘Exotic Invigilator’, was provided by the similarly-esteemed Craig Sinclair, our fine and wise leader in Cartwheels on Glass.

 

Cartwheels on Glass @ Sound Food and Drink, Liverpool

Apologies for the late notice but I’ll be donning my Cartwheels on Glass hat again this Thursday evening (11th January) for another evening of Free Rock and Roll at Sound Food and Drink on Duke Street in Liverpool. Get down there early as we’ll be on first (around 8:30-9:00pm), followed by Star Spangled Banana and Turbulent 3. Here’s the Facebook event page for the full lowdown…

https://www.facebook.com/events/157974301513844/

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‘The Cold Open’ featured on Memorials of Distinction Radio mix by Life is a Minestrone blog

A big thank you to Franck Zeisel of French label Microcultures (who have released music by the likes of Oddfellow’s Casino, John Cunningham and The Apartments) and the Life is a Minestrone blog for featuring ‘The Cold Open’ by News from Neptune on his recent mix of “some of my favourite songs of the last few years” for Memorials of Distinction Radio. I’m on at 29m03s, while other artists featured include Mimsy Cable, Dream Version and Fake Buildings…

https://microcultures.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/lifeisaminestroneblog/

 

 

NfN/Cartwheels on Glass 2017

With 2018 hurtling towards us at great speed, it felt appropriate to take stock and bring my (rather slim) 2017 recorded output together in one place. There’s the recent News from Neptune single ‘Dim and Distant’ (which got a play on BBC Radio Merseyside, a big deal by my standards!) as well as a trio of tracks I recorded with Cartwheels On Glass, the uber-group also featuring members of Lovecraft and Organ Freeman. Tracks from my 2016 release ‘The Cold Open EP’ also got radio play this year in the US and Portugal thanks to Custom Made Music in Virginia.

Expect more sounds to emanate from my little corner of the world (both solo and otherwise) in the new year…

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NfN 2017 Playlist

I’ve had a bit of a pet project on the go this year. Having listened to very little new music in 2016, I decided that I would listen to at least one new 2017 album each week. It’s been a fun, slightly bewildering experiment! Might as well keep it up next year too. With the assistance of resources like The Quietus, the Boomkat Weekly Digest, Bandcamp and most crucially of all, my beloved Rate Your Music, I’ve kept it wilfully obscure for the most part, just to be awkward!

I’ve made a playlist featuring tracks from just a handful of my favourite albums released this year. Dive in, the water’s lovely…!

Here’s the playlist as a single YouTube link…

 

… and here are the individual tracks…

1. Cakewalk – Shrooms (from the album ‘Ishihara’)

 

2. Orchestra Baobab – Fayinkounko (from the album ‘Tribute To Ndiouga Dieng’)

 

3. Daniel O’Sullivan – The Swimmer (from the album ‘Veld’)

 

4. Oddfellow’s Casino – Sealand (from the album ‘Oh, Sealand’)

 

5. Le Ton Mité – Mystery Trail (from the album ‘Passé Composé Futur Conditionnel’)

 

6. La Lá – Bebés (from the album ‘Zamba Puta’)

 

7. Moon Diagrams – Moon Diagrams (from the album ‘Lifetime of Love’)

 

8. Nadah El Shazly – Palmyra (from the album ‘Ahwar’)

 

9. Les Marquises – Following Strangers (from the album ‘A Night Full Of Collapses’)

 

10. Annabel (lee) – Autumn Requiem (from the album ‘The Cleansing’)

 

11. Cheer-Accident – Hymn (from the album ‘Putting Off Death’)

 

12. James Holden and the Animal Spirits – Go Gladly Into The Earth (from the album ‘The Animal Spirits’)

Midget! – Premier soleil

French guitarist Mocke Depret is a busy man. His thoughtful, entrancing playing (at times redolent of Loren Connors and Vini Reilly) first caught my attention when I heard his wonderful, evocative 2016 solo album of nautical library music ‘St Homard’. Earlier this year he collaborated with Delphine Dora on the delicate collection of folk and ambient-leaning compositions ‘Le Corps défendant’ (I very much look forward to seeing the pair at Liverpool’s Handyman Pub on January 25th!). To top off all this great work, in November he released an album entitled ‘Ferme tes jolis cieux’ with vocalist Claire Vailler as the incongrously-named duo Midget! on Objet Disque. With Vailler, Mocke explores an almost modern classical sound as well as traditional folk and choral music, haunted by the presence of Emmanuelle Parrenin and composers like Gavin Bryars, by turns solemn and light-hearted. I’ll be very intrigued to see what he conjures up in 2018 – I also need to investigate his work with Arlt and in the earlier band Holden.

Les Marquises – A Night Full of Collapses

With little more than two weeks until the end of the year, I’ve been looking out for any more choice 2017 albums which might have evaded my radar. A case in point would be the enigmatic, haunted ‘A Night Full of Collapses’ by Les Marquises from back in February on French label Ici D’Ailleurs. Songwriter Jean-Sébastien Nouveau records under this alias with a coterie of guests, on this occasion most prominently featuring vocals from Matt Elliott who is perhaps best known as the leader of The Third Eye Foundation (he also played guitar with Movietone and produced some excellent Hood albums in the ’90s).

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The album is part of a great French tradition of subtle, chamber pop-inflected post-rock stretching back to the likes of Mendelson, Dominique A’s ‘Remué’ album and Benoît Burello’s Bed. A line could also be drawn to dark jazz favourites Dale Cooper Quartet and the Dictaphones. As that suggests, the influence of Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks work looms large, as do the likes of Talk Talk, David Sylvian and Arto Lindsay. With all that said, though, the allure of Nouveau’s album lurks in the shadows and merits rather more attention than it appears to have received.