Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Mess o' New Music

I spent a fair chunk of a wet weekend catching up on new and impending releases from a stable of stars. Here a few that piqued my interest. I haven't followed Davey Woodward closely since his days fronting the Brilliant Corners, but it seems to have been my loss. His latest with backing band Winter Orphans is called 'Love & Optimism,' and the album is a jaw dropper. This is singer-songwriter material closer to Dylan than "Delilah Sands" but no less rewarding. Perhaps it's just me wallowing in our pandemic predicament, but the more understated and stripped bare the better. Even though this song was finished before lockdown. you can't tell me "Occupy This Space" wasn't made for these times. Tip of the cap, Mr. Woodward. Not every indie-pop prankster can grow up to become a sophisticated crooner.

Like with Woodward, I had not really kept up with Pauline Murray either. I know her more from her days being backed by Martin Hannett's Invisible Girls than I do fronting Penetration, but either one of those bands alone would make her a legend. Fortunately for us, she is not resting on her laurels. New solo album 'Elemental' might be a little too synth heavy for some regular readers of these pages, but I'm struck by how contemporary these songs sound. This is not an artist just trying to appease an old fan like me. With help from all-stars comprised mostly from her previous bands, Murray should find new converts and a younger generation of listeners with 'Elemental.'

In 2018, a year peppered with fantastic reissues, '45 Revolutions Per Minute' by Candy Opera took the crown on these pages because the 35-year-old songs felt like discovering lost classics by Prefab Sprout, Andy Pawlak and Aztec Camera. Thanks to Firestation Records, the Liverpool band finally had the moment they always deserved. Now, thanks to A Turntable Friend Records, Candy Opera get to prove they could have given us memorable songs all of these years. New album 'The Patron Saint Of Heartache' hits the shleves Nov. 13, and opener "These Days Are Ours" is quite an indication we are in for a treat.

In 1997, the Lucksmiths released fourth album 'A Good Kind of Nervous' to rave reviews and an opening slot on Belle & Sebastian's European tour. Unfortunately, it never came out on vinyl. Well, you don't have to imagine "Under the Rotunda" on wax ever again. Thanks to Matinée Recordings in America and Lost & Lonesome Recording Company in Australia, this is wrong about to be righted! Take your pick between orange or classic black. Should ship around Nov. 13. Man, I love this band.

One last update on the much anticipated singles collection from Heavenly. The tracklist is out and, yes, it covers all of the B-sides and across all of the labels. The vinyl choices are pink and blue (although I don't see pink on the preorder page as of yet), and this one will be out in early December. Preorder now. The shipping to America is a killer, but I couldn't resist this one.

1. I Fell in Love Last Night
2. Over and Over
3. Our Love is Heavenly
4. Wrap My Arms Around Him
5. She Says
6. Escort Crash on Marston Street
7. So Little Deserve
8. I'm Not Scared of You
9. Atta Girl
10. P.U.N.K Girl
11. Hearts and Crosses
12. Dig Your Own Grave
13. So?
14. Trophy Girlfriend
15. Space Manatee
16. You Tore Me Down
17. Art School


Dan Destiny's Silver Dawn said...

Gosh, Brian. Until about thirty minutes ago I had never heard of Candy Opera. But I've been searching out tracks on YouTube and been totally blown away. How could music this good have been lost for so long? Clearly soul mates of the Pale Fountains and Prefab Sprout - they should have released an LP on Disques Du Crepescule! They would have been perfect. Many thanks for alerting me. I'm clearly going to have to order a copy of the 45 RPM collection at the very least! I sense a new love affair could be about to start.

Brian said...

DDSD, You got mail.

drew said...

Some great stuff there. Have ordered the Candy Opera.

Have you ordered the new Luxembourg Signal album?

Brian said...

Hi Drew. Been too long. The other day I watched the highlights of the Airdrie game from last weekend. Looked pretty sharp but was sad to see and hear an empty Excelsior. Yes, I have ordered the new Luxembourg Signal. I have to say, I don't ever remember having so many preorders and records in the post at one time... and that's saying something. Not going to the shops plays its part, but I need a list to keep up!

drew said...

I’m the same re the pre sales. At least three have been a surprise as I had forgotten about ordering them. Quite a few in the next few weeks that I am looking forward to.

As we bought our season tickets Leo and I had access to Diamonds TV, was very strange watching the game on Leo’s big TV and seeing our seats empty. We would give anything to have been there, on those uncomfortable plastic seats, with the sub standard catering and not very clean toilets. I have high hopes for the team this year. This will be when they will be at their best playing good football when we can’t be there to see it. ��

Hope all is good with the family.

Brian said...

As much as I would like you to see the Diamonds, I suppose that concourse is problematic for social distancing, being enclosed, etc. Let's face it... ain't gonna happen this season... for any of us. On another note, my Bandcamp downloads of the Luxembourg Signal were sent to me today. I haven't been told as much, but I assume the vinyl is on the way.

C said...

Lovely to hear and see Pauline Murray again here - such a heroine from my young teenage years - I had no idea she'd done this. And still in fine voice.

Brian said...

C, I agree. Sounds fantastic. I really missed out on Penetration... as most on this side of the pond did.