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Monday, 18 July 2011
Sunday, 17 July 2011
Giorgio Tuma (No 1,063)
Hometown: Lecce, Italy.
The lineup: Giorgio Tuma (vocals, instruments), Alice Rossi (vocals), Alessio Borgia (drums, percussion), Simona Colomba (Farfisa, Wurlitzer, piano), Matilde de Rubertis (voice, guitar), Massimiliano Giannuzzi (bass), Salvatore Papa (guitar), Marco Tuma (flute).
The background: We tend to think of cratedigging as a pastime enjoyed by hip-hoppers and soulboys, but there's another kind of cratedigger: the polymorphously intrigued, omnivorous record collector who, having exhausted rock for source material, looks elsewhere for new ideas, to that nexus of strangely compatible influences that includes Bacharach and David's songs for swinging marrieds, cocktail/lounge muzak, MOR, jazz, light classical, Italian and French movie soundtracks, 60s baroque pop, Brazilian tropicália, and the breezy harmonies of Fifth Dimension, Free Design et al. There was a brief attempt to hipify the naff in the mid-80s by Mike Alway and his él label, then in the 90s there was a spate of record-collectors-turned musicians: Jarvis Cocker was one, although it didn't reflect much in Pulp's music. Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, on the other hand, were two such Men From U.N.C.O.O.L. types, and you could very much detect the influence of all this in Saint Etienne's budget disco exotica, and the same goes for the boys and girls from Stereolab, and Sean O'Hagan of High Llamas.
Giorgio Tuma, an Italian boy whose first love was the Clash, admits he had his head turned by Stereolab as a teen, after which he worked backwards: to Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim and Os Mutantes – he's even named his backing band Os Tumantes, in tribute to the tropicália legends. Tuma is signed to Elefant, a Madrid label that has Mike Alway's influence all over it, and he has out an album, In the Morning We'll Meet, which in its own airy, lightly-orchestrated way, is a quiet classic – if you like this sort of mellow madness. Be warned: some of it is so seraphic and sweet it makes the Swingle Singers sound like the Stooges. It's a kind of blue, but it's not the blues. So if you're drawn to that parallel version of the 60s that espoused elegance and innocence and eschewed the messier aspects of the counterculture, then you'll love what Tuma and his Tumantes do here.
The buzz: "Hugely ambitious, displaying a deep love of 60s pop, soft rock and classy easy listening – a perfect accompaniment to a quiet summery evening" – Popjunkietv
The truth: It's not hard to love something this soft.
Most likely to: Take you up, up and away.
Least likely to: Sing about downers.
What to buy: In the Morning We'll Meet is available now on Elefant.
File next to: Stereolab, High Llamas, Free Design, Burt Bacharach.
Monday's new band: Arrange.
Friday, 8 July 2011
More dispatches from up north this week as Richard Lewis hunts out the latest sounds emanating from the port of Liverpool.
Talking of record releases on the kind which are tangible, The Wicked Whispers unveiled their debut EP, The Dark Delights Of…. Released on ultra-collectable 10” vinyl, via their own label, Electone Records, a raucous performance at the Kazimier provided the EP’s launch party. The Vox Continental driven four piece source The Doors, The Pink Floyd and The Byrds, effortlessly recreating their sound live. With some of the best haircuts seen on a guitar band since the doyens US Underground were captured on the Nuggets compilation, the quartet bottle a wealth of vintage reference points into short bursts of sound.
Best sampled on EP track ‘Amanda Lavender’, a Syd Barrett-esque paean (think See Emily Play) to the fictional heroine, the two minute odyssey is their most straightforward pop song so far. Accompanied by a mist-shrouded video shot in Snowdonia by acclaimed rock photographer Mark McNulty, the Country Garden setting and the pulchritudinous Charlotte Cooper in the title role make for a memorable clip.
Monday, 4 July 2011
The MacDonald Sisters were the first Gaelic singing group in Scotland. Founded in 1963 they were extensively touring the British Isles until 1977. Finlay MacDonald, son of Kathleen, presents a compilation with 26 of their most beautiful songs.
The first 12 songs were taken from their album "Four Bonnie Highland Lassies". They sing traditional rhythmic Gaelic songs like "Horo Bhodachain", melancholic slow waltzes like "Calum Sgàire" as well as some intoxicating mouth music (Puirt a beul). Their beautiful singing is accompanied by orchestral arrangements by Colin Wylie and Archie Duncan. They also perform classic folk songs in English like "The Spinning Wheel", another beautiful slow waltz, or the rhythmic "Johnny Cope".
All vocal arrangements for the 14 songs on "Songs of the Island" were by Kathleen and the accompaniment directed by Iain Gourley. The exclusively Gaelic songs are traditional except one of the Waulking songs, "Is guirme do shuil", and the soft melancholic ballad "An Ataireachd Bhuan", which are original songs by The MacDonald Sisters.
The four brilliant singers introduced their Gaelic heritage to the audience in the 60ies and 70ies and thus are trailblazers for modern Scottish folk music. Their authentic singing style is accompanied by rather classical arrangements, an interesting and beautiful historical source.
© Adolf „gorhand“ Goriup
Get off with Bof!
With most contemporary garage bands, the needle hits the vinyl and you're overcome by a sense of deja vu, then a bout of yawning and finally a longing for death.
But Les Bof! are a garage band with a difference, whose debut album Nous sommes... Les Bof! has just come out.
Their name roughly translates as "not bothered" and it's usually delivered in French with a certain laid-back insouciance.
The four-piece are made up of three Scots and stranger-in-a-strange-land French singer Laurent Mombel.
How did a boy from Marseilles come to be displaced in Edinburgh playing in a '60s-inspired beat group?
"I moved to Edinburgh about 12 years ago because I was going out with a British girl and we decided to set up here," he explains. "The love story didn't last but I decided to stay because I had such good friends and because of the music and the clubs."
Laurent met guitarist Angus McPake, a veteran of the European garage rock circuit, in a club and they cemented their friendship at Angus's own French '60s pop night, Sweet '69.
Having been north of the border for over a decade, Laurent is still unmistakably French and you can hear it when he has a rush of excitement about playing the '''armonica, the blues 'arp!"
France, well-known for electro bands like Daft Punk, is not so high-profile when it comes to rock and Mombel explains why.
"We are not really famous for our rock because bands love to sing in French," he says. "They think the language is a bit more poetic. And in a certain way I suppose it is."
But he's also picked up Scottish inflections and sounds not unlike Christopher Lambert in Highlander.
Les Bof! influences include French '60s chanteur Jaques Dutronc, better-known here as Monsieur Francoise Hardy.
The band regularly covers his classic Les Cactus with its lyrics like "The whole world is a cactus, it's impossible to sit."
The words may be silly, "but it's very effective and very bluesy as well," Lambert expounds. "And we all love Antoine et les Problemes as well as US '60s Garage and British Beat."
Nous Sommes... Les Bof! was years in production.
So committed were the band to the sound that they built their own studio to get that authentic analogue ambience and '60s bleed over.
"It's what makes this band so exciting because it's our product, it's the sounds we wanted, the equipment we wanted," Laurent says.
Anyone catching them live or listening to their new album will understand why he's so enthusiastic.
Nous sommes... Les Bof! is available on Copase Disques. The band appear at The Voodoo Rooms, Edinburgh, on July 14. Box office: (0131) 556-7060.