Mildlife – groovy spacey jazz, funk and disco

Mildlife - PhasePhase is the debut album by Australian quartet, Mildlife released on 23rd February via Research Records.

Mildlife use elements of spacey jazz, funk, psych and disco to produce groovy sunkissed sounds.  Hard to define but easy to listen to, the album constantly expands and refines itself with each track. Space jazz, funk, disco. The songs work well together. The band cite a wide range of influences on their music, from Herbie Hancock to Can, and it shows.

The six track debut album kicks off with the wonderful masterpiece that is ‘The Magnificent Moon’.

Bassist Tom Shanahan comments: “The Magnificent Moon feels like the veteran journeyman to the rest of the album. I’m not sure if that’s because it was written first or because it seems to know what it wants and has a more considered direction. It never really second guesses itself except for maybe just before the outro when he realises he may have journeyed too far and his space suit has a hole in it. But then he just jams some gum in the hole and gets on with it anyway.”


Mildlife take the musical canvas, rip the lids off the paint tins, and throw vibrant splashes of colour into kaleidoscopic jams. Old friends, the Australian four-piece bonded over the desire to push musical boundaries, developing tight live shows bolstered by wild improvisation and a debut record that mines jazz, psych and disco for its irresistible groove. A melting pot of musical sensations, Mildlife combine progressive 70s sounds with electronic krautrock, backed by a mixture of rhythmic funk, house, and dream-pop, to create an addictive atmosphere that’s illustrated perfectly by their first single ‘The Magnificent Moon’, out November 3rd via Research Records. The single comes as an introduction to their highly anticipated debut LP ‘Phase’ due out early next year.

Taking cues from artistic pioneers such as Can and Herbie Hancock, creating a Mildlife song is a constant process of teasing and tugging, expanding and refining. But Mildlife are adamantly not a studio band. Between 2014 and 2015 they took a year off playing shows to figure out how they could produce as much of their music live as they possibly could without losing its complexity. “It makes the performance, the composition, more malleable,” says guitarist and multi-instrumentalist Adam Halliwell.

Bassist Tom Shanahan adds “It feels more authentic. The energy can be in the song rather than sitting on top of it. We wanted to leave a lot of room for improvisation.”

Phase is an exceptional debut album from Melbourne-based Mildlife.

James Taylor Quartet perform The Rochester Mass @ Rochester Cathedral

In the 1987 four musicians from Medway began jamming together following the demise of local psych garage groups The Prisoners and The Daggermen. The began playing 1960s theme tunes and Hammond organ cover versions.  The James Taylor Quartet found instant appreciation, capped by a John Peel Session and an acclaimed debut album, Mission Impossible.  The band signed to Polydor and became part of the Acid Jazz scene.

Many years, albums, line-up changes and world tours later, James Taylor returned to his hometown of Rochester  last Friday night, to perform with the 40-strong Rochester Cathedral Choir.

The concert took place in the cathedral itself and was given in two parts. The first set was a performance of The Rochester Mass – a nine part piece – where the Rochester Cathedral Choir, made up of three parts: Boys Choristers, Girls Choristers and the Lay Clerks played with the James Taylor Quartet under the directorship of Scott Farrell, the cathedral’s director of music.

The Rochester Mass
Gloria part 1
Gloria part 2
Agnus Dei a capella duet intro
Agnes Dei Part 1
Flute Cadenza
Agnes Dei Part 2
Sanctus part 1
Sanctus part 2

The performance was truly amazing.  The cathedral acoustics and lavish setting was as perfect as the chemistry between choral music and jazz. The piece was very warmly received and left the audience mesmerised.

Following a short break, the James Taylor Quartet returned to play a set of acid jazz funk that had the majority of the audience dancing in the aisles, turning the church into an all-sigine all-dancing celebratory wedding-style party.  At one point James Taylor sprung from behind his Hammond organ into the audience inviting people to get to their feet, inviting them to hand clap in time with the beat.

The second set included live favourites such as JTQ Theme, Love Will Keep Us Together, and crowd-pleasing cover versions of Booker T & the MG’s Time Is Tight and Green Onions.

The concert was an overwhelming success, as was The Rochester Mass when given its premier at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London earlier this year.  The Rochester Mass is due to be released this Autumn on Cherry Red Records.

Bill Nelson – Practically Wired reissued via Cherry Red

Sex, Guitars and Rock’n’Roll – How Bill Nelson taught me to become ‘Guitar Boy’
Sex, Guitars and Rock’n’Roll – How Bill Nelson taught me to become ‘Guitar Boy’

Practically Wired is a landmark album by Bill Nelson, a continuously creative musician and artist over 40 years.  This copy of the album has been re-mastered and updated with a booklet by Cherry Red Records after the original album has been unavailable for 10 years.

In case you are wondering who he is, Bill Nelson led pop art group Be-Bop Deluxe, Red Noise, Orchestra Futura etc.  A musician’s musician, with a cast of admirers to die for: Paul Mc Cartney, The Foo Fighters, Kate Bush, Brian Eno, MCR, Prince and Big Country.  Practically Wired shows off Bill Nelson’s guitar playing talents alongside his writing and production skills with his long-term collaborator and master engineer / producer John Spence.

Practically Wired is described by Bill Nelson as:
“An instrumental guitar album – The plan was to record very quickly and spontaneously; no preparation except for a list of moods and titles. A Polaroid snapshot of a personal paradise… a dream of electric guitars”

Just listen to pink buddha blues’ to get a feel for what he is talking:


We have a healthy dose of rock / jazz guitar virtuosity in tracks like friends from heaven, royal ghosts, big noise in twangtown and wild blue sky cycle.  Electronica meets guitar in spinning planet, her presence in flowers and roses and rocketships.  Some beautiful acoustic guitar patinas in tiny little thing and thousand island fountain – this track being somewhat reminiscent of ‘Islands of the dead’ from Be-Bop Deluxe’s ‘Drastic Plastic’ album, a song Bill wrote in honour of his father Walter, who bought Bill his first guitar and entranced him in a love of radio, technology, life and music.  Rounded off by some absolutely exquisite ambient piano pieces such as piano 45, every moment infinite and eternal for Emiko

Practically Wired” is testament to what can be achieved without a plan, no budget for three weeks of sex and drugs and rock’n’roll in a French Chateau and without a ‘Big Mac’ computer at your side.  As well as Bill’s more noted skills as a guitar hero, he has a fine ear, a sense of artistic purpose and a wonderful sense of the art of painting musical pictures.  Wake up, listen, learn from the teacher.  What more can I say?  This album was ahead of its time and still sounds fresh, vibrant and offers us a window into the future of real music for real music lovers.  The upgrading of the sleeve notes and other features makes it a worthwhile purchase even if you are lucky enough to own the original.

Bill Nelson performs a rich diet of his back catalogue, from Be-Bop Deluxe and beyond, a full solo instrumental guitar set and something truly inspirational with his post-modern music twenty third century trio “Orchestra Futura”, featuring bass supremo Dave Sturt and hero of the wind Theo Travis.  Limited tickets available for Nelsonica a whole day event on 29th September.

Practically Wired by Bill Nelson is reissued via Cherry Red Recordings.


Thrill Jockey re-issue Tortoise 7″ singles & albums + Tour Dates

Thrill Jockey re-issue Tortoise
Thrill Jockey re-issue Tortoise

Thrill Jockey have announced that Tortoise will be playing a string of European live dates this summer. The cool record label will also be re-issuing their first two singles as part of Record Store Day, and six albums throughout 2012 in celebration of Thrill Jockey’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Tortoise Tour Dates 2012

12 May 2012
E-Santiago Compostella, Auditorio Galicia

15 May 2012
E-Madrid, Rock Kitchen, Sublime Shows

16 May 2012
E-Barcelona, Apolo, Sublime Shows

17 May 2012
E-Valencia, Wah Wah
18.5. Fri E-Sevilla, Territorios Festival

2 June 2012
London, Field Day Festival

3 June 2012
MK-Skopje, OFF Fest

4 June 2012
HR-Zagreb, Tvornica Kulture

5 June 2012 München, Feierwerk

6 June 2012
CH-Zürich, Moods

8 June 2012
B-Hasselt, Kunstencentrum Belgie

9 June 2012
E-Tenerife, Próximos Festival

18 July 2012
N-Molde, M. Int. Jazz Festival, Teatret Vart

20 July 2012
N-Tønsberg, Slottsfjellet (open air amphi)

Thrill Jockey re-issue Tortoise 7″ singles for Record Store Day
As part of Record Store Day (April 21st) we will be reissuing of the first two Tortoise singles.  Lonesome Sound was released on Thrill Jockey and features a cover of the Freakwater song of the same name.  Mosquito (also the band’s original name) was released on David Sims’ (Jesus Lizard) Torsion Music label.

These releases feature the original line-up of Douglas McCombs, John Herndon, Bundy K. Brown, John McEntire and Brad Wood!  Both have been re-cut to vinyl by Bob Weston (Shellac) and feature the original fold-over artwork.  Both 7″ sleeves can be put together to form a full four panel poster.

Thrill Jockey re-issue First Two Tortoise 7″ singles

Lonesome Sound 7″
1. Lonesome Sound
2. Reservoir
3. Sheets

Mosquito 7″
1. Mosquito
2. Gooseneck

Thrill Jockey re-issue Six Tortoise Albums
Thrill Jockey will be reissuing the following Tortoise albums throughout 2012. The releases will be spread out over the year, to coincide with the 20th Anniversary celebrations.  20th Anniversary LP Limited re-issues on CD & digital download:

It’s All Around You
Millions Now Living Will Never Die
Beacons of Ancestorship

For more information visit the Thrill Jockey Tortoise website page.


Elefant Records release albums from the pick of European Pop

Giorgio Tuma - In The Morning We’ll Meet
Giorgio Tuma - In The Morning We’ll Meet

Giorgio Tuma – In The Morning We’ll Meet

Two years on from his amazing debut (My Vocalese Fun Fair) Italian pop genius Giorgio Tuma unveils his 16-track follow up on his Spanish label with songs in English.

Apologies, I’m writing like you’re in on the secret, but I get the feeling you’re not. Not for much longer, however, for I am about to induct you into the Giorgio Tuma fan club. What can I say? That he’s the biggest talent to emerge in sun-drenched pop since Brian Wilson, John Phillips, Burt Bacharach or Herb Alpert last wrote a decent tune?

Maybe I’m building him up too much? Maybe you should just take a listen in front of a mirror so you can watch your jaw slacken with wonder that someone is still out there writing delicious gentle melodic pop with orchestral arrangements and vocal harmonies that would have done Mr Bacharach & Mr David proud.

One listen is enough to sense that In The Morning We’ll Meet is every bit as good as the debut. Half-a-dozen listens, however, fail to throw up an absolute stand-out in the way that ‘Let’s Make the Stevens Cake’ or ‘Astroland by Bus’ leapt out of the debut. A criticism of sorts, but it all holds together as a coherent wistful work of aural art, just even more languid, ethereal and beautiful that the previous disc.

I’ll go for ‘An Enchanting Blue’ or ‘Oh Marc, Please, Let me Fly with my LV’ with its dreamy trumpet or ‘Innocenza Cetra’ and its gorgeous violins as the highlights. Timeless.


Very few labels can dare claim that they define a sound; Sun, Tamla-Motown, Stax, 2-Tone and Postcard form an elite crew. The good people at Elefant HQ in Madrid are building a damn good case for membership.

Various Artists – Space Escapade Unit 1 Destination: Pluto Sector 68 (Aventura Espacial)

Space Escapade Unit 1 is the latest of several pop picnics from their overflowing basket. Scouring Europe for the best in pop talent, an ability to commit sunshine to vinyl/tape would appear the common denominator whether the medium is power pop, shoe gaze, C86, Eurodisco or boy-girl Mamas & Papas-style pop. You’ll notice I keep using that word beginning with P. There’s no other word that’ll do. Elefant do Pop and do it very well.

I can’t pretend that I love it all; it’s just that the overall standard is very high. There will be several for you among the 44 track double-disc. I’ll take ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken’ by Camera Obscura (though would happily do without their cover of ‘Super Trouper’). Similarly, I really don’t care for the Eurodisco opener from La Casa Azul, but their ‘Bad Guys’, featuring Duglas T. Stewart on disc 2 is pretty dandy.

Fitness Forever (another group who made a great 2009 debut album), The School, Modular, The Carrots (a la Billie Davis – nice!), Serpentina, Nick Garrie, Ibon Errazkin, Les Tres Bien Ensemble and, of course, the assured sounds of Giorgio Tuma all grace the collection.

If none of those names mean anything to you, think of them as cousins of Broadcast, Air, Saint Etienne or Belle & Sebastian; nieces and nephews of the aforementioned 1960s chaps and chapesses.


It is worth mentioning too that all Elefant discs, in my experience, are beautifully designed and packaged. It’s important; it shows they care.  Pretty delightful.

For more informatioon visit the Elefant records website.