In 2012 Joe Brown became the first guest contributor to loosehandlebars when he kindly replied to my request for his favourite records of that year. Joe sends me new music which is always worth listening to & sometimes it is music he & his mates in The Gatefolds have made themselves. A couple of months ago I was delighted to receive an advance copy of the new single by Derry’s favourite garage band. Now the snap, crackle & post-punk pop of “Smokin’ Pockets” can be on your playlist as it available as a free download here on the group’s own little bit of Bandcamp.
Just enter “0” in the “name your price” box & 2 striking shots of sonic spirit are yours gratis …win, win. If you are lucky enough to be in Derry over the New Year The Gatefolds are launching their single at Sandinos on the 3rd of January 2015. Good times guaranteed, now over to Joe.
Beck – Morning Phase. The versatile, often ambitious Beck Hansen released his first LP for 6 years in 2014. After the funky electronic singles of 2013 “Morning Phase” stands as a companion piece to the outstanding, stripped down “Sea Change” (2002). It has the same shimmering, crystal clear production, several of the same musicians have returned. “Sea Change” is a break-up album, the emotions raw & tormented. 12 years on Beck is in his 40s, older then, younger than that now. “Morning Phase” is lyrically more subtle & optimistic. The songs take their time to reveal their qualities & reward repeated listening. “Country Down” is a perfect example of how effective loping country rock has always been. It’s good that Beck knows how to do this.
Wand – Ganglion Reef. A 4-piece from Los Angeles, Wand’s debut LP is the best psychedelic surf music you will hear this year. The guitar barrage of serious riffage is lightened by frontman Cory Thomas Hanson’s breathy vocals, any pause for breath filled with a synthesiser wash. The stunning “Flying Golem” comes with an imaginative animated video too. In 2012 Tame Impala carried the swing, last year it was Wooden Shjips. There’s some great modern psychedelic rock around & Wand are ones to watch.
Goat – Commune. Goat’s fantastic new LP opens with the drone-rock of “Talk To God”, as if Tinariwen had been spiked. This Swedish band’s take on non-Western forms of music is experimental with the emphasis on mental ! The video for the groovy “Hide From The Sun” is an example of their Scandi voodoo craziness. If an eccentric blend of wild percussion, psych & Black Sabbath’s 1st LP does not sound like your kind of thing then you will be surprised. I am not the only on who has stumbled upon Goat & found them to be to be fresh & invigorating. This music should be heard more.
A final shout to our brothers The Everlasting Yeah who done better than good with “Anima Rising”. Also a glass raised to Wilko Johnson, an inspiration as a musician & a man & who’s clean bill of health is a reason to celebrate in 2014. Cheers.