Experimental post-punk project, Abrasive Trees release three-track debut

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Experimental post-punk project, Abrasive Trees have announced the release of a three-track single Bound For An Infinite Sea on Wise Queen Records/Shapta on Friday 4th September.

The title track, a driven, layered and atmospheric song with spectral, intricate guitars – sits alongside two more ambient, immersive tracks and features vintage drum-machines, acoustic drums recorded in a Victorian rectory and an array of acclaimed musicians.

Abrasive Treesis the solo project of Scottish-born guitarist and singer Matthew Rochford.  About the release he said:

 “These songs are a bit dark, but there’s also a positive energy behind them. In essence they are about the importance of staying compassionate – whatever the circumstances.  The title track is actually about witnessing suffering and finding a way to be empowered to do something meaningful in the face of sorrow.  There is so much intensity in this world and it can get a bit overwhelming can’t it?  I wrote and recorded these three songs amidst loss so there’s heartbreak, but also something hopeful and spiritual that I hope will connect with how others might be feeling right now.

“Creating music is simultaneously a release for me and an offering to those who feel that ‘just coping’ is a good day.  I think being a musician you learn the value of being in the moment and expressing what needs to be expressed. During this strange time, it’s especially important to me to stay present in a positive way and this single is part of that.

Matthew is a former member of Jo-Beth Young’s live and studio bands for RISE and Talitha Rise as well as being in the post-punk bands Council of Giants, The Impossible Moon and a recent Rothko collaborator.

The production features an line-up of collaborators including Jo Beth Young (RISE/Talitha Rise), Steven Hill (Evi Vine), Mark Parsons (Eat Lights Become Lights) and Matthew’s brother, Sebastian (Polar Bear/Pulled By Magnets).  The single was mixed and mastered by Mark Beazley (Rothko/The Band Of Holy Joy).

All three tracks are available on limited-edition cassette or CD or download from their bandcamp page on Friday 4th September as well as streaming via all the usual platforms.  A video to accompany the release (by visual artist Jess Wooler) will premier on the day prior to release.

Bio:  Abrasive Trees is the creative vehicle for the music of Matthew Rochford. 

Matthew was born in Aberdeen to Anglo-Indian/Anglo-Irish parents and has been playing guitar since he was a child. He’s a former member of Jo-Beth Young’s live and studio bands for RISE and Talitha Rise as well as being in the post-punk bands Council of Giants and The Impossible Moon. This year he has been recording for Mark Beazley’s Rothko and Jo Beth Young.

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The approach is experimental and immersive and the sound could be described as spectral, layered and brooding with intricate, drone-drenched guitars.  The overall energy owes as much to post-punk as it does to ambient psychedelia, grunge or post-rock.

Strings, dulcimers, guitars that sound like old synths or sitars, voices in the distance and stories that take you somewhere. Esoteric bass, analogue drum machines and acoustic drums recorded in a Victorian house all help to forge the sound.

As well as writing the music, lyrics and producing, Matthew also sings, plays guitars, dulcimer, Ebow and programmes the analogue drum machine.

The debut single and video is scheduled for release September 2020 via Wise Queen Records with an album following in 2021.

An array of accomplished collaborators have contributed to the project so far, both live and in the studio:

Nadia Abdelaziz – Voice, Dulcimer

Ffion Atkinson (Johnny Powell and The Seasonal Beasts) – Voice

Mark Beazley (Rothko/Band of Holy Joy) – Electric Bass

​Laurence Collyer (Diamond Family Archive) – Shruti Box, Steel Guitar

Steven Hill (Evi Vine) – Guitars

​Jay Newton (Quiet Quiet Band)  – Keys

Mark Parsons (Eat Lights Become Lights) – Electric Bass

Ben Roberts (Evi Vine) – Cello

Seb Rochford (Polar Bear/Pulled By Magnets) – Drums

Peter Yates (Fields of The Nephilim) – Guitars

Jo-Beth Young (Talitha Rise/RISE/Yates & Young) – Voice, Guitars, Percussion, Tibetan Bowl, Recorder

Appearing on this single:

Steven Hill – Guitars

Mark Parsons – Electric Bass

Matthew Rochford – Vocals, Guitars, Drum Machine

Sebastian Rochford – Drums

Jo-Beth Young – Additional Voice

 Written and Produced by Matthew Rochford

Mixed and Mastered by Mark Beazley

Released by Wise Queen Records/Shapta

Publishing: Speegra

 

Black is the Color by Liz Davinci

Elizabeth Everts

“Black is the Color” is a folk song that is said to originate in Scotland.  I have always loved this song and wanted to do my own version of it. One day it hit me that the version I would create of this lovely song would be nostalgic, a bit intense – to explore the dark side of vulnerability.

As I worked on the song, it made me start thinking about how love can create such a vulnerability that it can lead to destruction.  This destruction can occur in multiple places, even all at once, or in its simplest form of one individual suffering in the beauty of love.

I tried to capture these ideas in the video – when light exists, darkness must also exist and that is sometimes difficult to manage emotionally.  And in my experience, the lighter the light, the darker the dark.

The video was primarily filmed in Munich, Germany and I created the video myself.  I hope you enjoy it.

Lyrics
Black is the color of my true love’s hair
His lips are something wondrous fair
The sweetest face and the gentlest hands
I love the ground on which he stands

I love my love and well he knows
I love the ground on which he goes
If him on earth no more I see
My life will simply fade away

Black is the color of my true love’s hair

 

BIO:

www.elizabetheverts.com

Liz Davinci was born and raised in California and currently lives in Munich, Germany. Her energetic and dynamic songs, honest voice and soft lyrical touch culminate to achieve an intimacy in her music.

Her voice has been called “haunting and beautiful”.

Her first album, “Obstruction Destruction”, was released in 2017, followed closely by the release of an EP entitled “EEEEP”.

In 2018 Elizabeth released a series of singles followed by her most professionally produced and musically daring release yet, the EP “Contraband”, which was released in May of 2019.  She is currently working on a second album.

For Elizabeth, songwriting is a necessity, an expression and an attempt to evoke affinity in listeners.

 
 

crazy-drunk conundrum by Eliana Vanessa

crazy-drunk conundrum

 

thanks to Sylvia,

i can’t even utter

the word “daddy,”

though

God knows i want to—

because he

is the sweetest

kind of crazy,

claiming whiskey makes

a better wife than me,

settling

the score, between us,

on paper,

having fucked

empty the glow of our souls’

well-intentioned

affection,

my heart, swollen,

a bell jar infection,

vows

never to mention

his name in poetry,

yet, nevertheless,

burns thin the oxygen

to love him,

in silence,

for the rest of his drunken days.

 

Biography

     Eliana Vanessa is originally from Argentina and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana at a young age. She recently participated 100,000 Poets for Change (2018) and served as part of a panel of poets in The Jane Austen Festival (2017, 2018, 2019).   You can find her work online at The Horror Zine, The Rye Whiskey Review, and The Sirens Call Ezine, The Ramingo’s Porch, Ariel Chart, Beneath the Rainbow, and Fearless. Her poetry appears in two recent anthologies: Masks Still Aren’t Enough (2019) and Americans and Others (2019). She is Eliana Vanessa on Facebook at the following link: https://www.facebook.com/eliana.vanessa.7758.

elianna vanessa

 

NOIR SONGS: YATES & YOUNG – Where Are We Now

Cover of David Bowie’s ‘Where Are We Now’
by Yates and Young from upcoming EP Splinters.
Releasing on September 27th at:
https://peteryates.bandcamp.com
https://www.riseofficial.net

Footage: Dandy George and Rosie –  1927

Peter Yates: Guitars, Synths, Keys, Drum Programming
RISE (Jo Beth Young): Vocals
Bass: Jules Bangs

Produced by Yates and Young
Mixed by Kev Bolus
Mastered by Denis Blackham

rise

Alan Savage on Scott Walker and Lana Del Rey

Over at his THINKSHED blog, musician and writer Alan Savage takes a gander at the works of torch singers SCOTT WALKER and LANA DEL REY.

Of Scott Walker, he says:

‘The magnificent awkwardness of Scott Walker is a quality that I most admire him for. Scott was the first pop star who refused to play the inane teen pop game and didn’t care to pander to commercial concerns, at least, not when he went solo. From big moody ballads, with a Spector-like widescreen production in the Walker Brothers, Scott delivered a unique debut album in the last autumn quarter of 1967 that was evidently at odds with the prevailing peace love and flowers pop zeitgeist.’

Read the rest here.

Of Lana Del Rey, he says:

‘Lana Del Rey created a sonic twilight world where she’s on a kind of road trip of self-discovery and carnal longing. Dennis Hopper might even turn up at some point. It’s sexy noir pop in other words, with a slightly twisted psychological undercurrent. There is an unease in this Lana world. The Prom Queen gone to the dark side? Maybe.’

Read the rest here.

And check out the rest of THINKSHED.

satin jacket blues

Dark Cloud by Rise

 

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Dark Cloud submerges us in the overhang of a suffocating experience which is brilliantly portrayed by film maker Alex T’s unnerving music video starring actress Anna Wraith. The electronic dream folk track features Peter Yates (Fields of the Nephilim) whose signature guitars hang ominously under RISE’s haunting vocals. The song is the first hint at RISE’s follow up album to her acclaimed debut An Abandoned Orchid House.

“The most perfect recording I’ve heard this year, maybe in a couple of years” John Diliberto ECHOES, USA
‘Full of grace and beauty” **** PROG Magazine
“More hauntingly beautiful than Kate Bush on a good day” BBC INTRO DEVON

R I S E Pre-album tour warm up gigs (showcasing Strangers LIVE) July 11th – B Bar Plymouth July 12th – The Angel Gallery – Totnes July 13th – Feather’s Hotel, Ledbury Fringe Festival July 27th Lepallooza, Bude Cornwall

R I S E (aka Jo Beth Young) is an English songwriter whose relentlessly authentic songs and mesmeric voice cut deep into the fabric of human frailty with a visionary sound swaying hypnotically between dream folk and progressive grit; at times dark but always beautiful.

Since the release of her debut album ‘An Abandoned Orchid House’ in 2018 (under the longer moniker of Talitha Rise) she has been gathering international acclaim and support from BBC 6, BBC Introducing Devon, and the legendary ECHOES Radio in the USA who made her the number 1 album of the year. Establishing her unique sound early on in Ireland cutting her teeth on the folk circuit, she returned to the UK and met her long-term collaborator Martyn Barker (Shriekback, Goldfrapp, Robert Plant) and caught the attention of Chris Difford (Squeeze) who sang on her debut EP Blue.

As a live artist R I S E, has started to reach new heights. Opening for acts such as Renaissance, Boo Hewardine, Julia Biel, Antonio Forcione and Shriekback, and she has held the spellbound attention of audiences at The Maltings, St. Pancras London, and sold out her 2017 and 2018 headline shows in Sussex and Devon.

Funny Little Frog by Graham Wynd

The row of houses stood much the same as he stepped down from the train. They had browned, as if muddy showers from passing busses had caked in the sun, baking to a tobacco stain of the pub floor. Unintentional outcomes of the smoking ban, eh?

 

Sebastian wondered if she changed the locks, but his key fit and turned and he stepped inside. The afternoon light cut through the frosted window, lending a sparkle to some dust motes in the gloom. The flat still smelled like boiled onions. His parka hung by the door, no doubt full of two year’s dust.

 

‘Who’s that?’ Her voice sounded thin but angry, more brittle than before.

 

‘It’s me,’ he answered unthinkingly like a thousand times before, unprepared for how loud his words sounded in the stillness. Sebastian dropped his bag and crossed to the sitting room door.

 

She stared at him, remote in hand. ‘I thought it was Davy.’

 

‘Hello, mum.’

 

‘So you’re out.’

 

‘I wrote you.’

 

‘I know.’ Her lower lip thrust out like a child’s pout. If this was the worst he could bear it. ‘I suppose you want to be staying here?’

 

He shrugged. ‘If I can. Until I get settled.’ He noticed the stripe of captions across the bottom of the screen. Was she losing her hearing?

 

‘I’ve had a hard time of it. No one in my family ever spent time inside.’ The emphasis cast aspersions on her absent partner. He would have brought up Uncle Frank, but he hadn’t actually been jailed, had he? Knifed on the way to the court house.

 

But all he said was, ‘I know, mum.’

 

Despite her grumbling, she heaved herself out of the chair and put the kettle on. Buttering some bread for them both, she caught him up on news for their street: who died, who worked, who moved away—why she kept the sound low and the captions on because that dirty pair on the corner would bring their yappy little mutt to do its business on her front and she wasn’t having that.

 

‘And Renee?’ He couldn’t bear the suspense any longer.

 

His mother snorted. ‘Working at Marks and Sparks that one. Taking classes at the business school too, I hear. Quite the little entrepreneur.’

 

For the first time since he got out, Sebastian smiled.

 

‘Have you got it out of your system now?’ his mother asked as she shook a few fingers of shortbread onto a plate.

 

‘Got what?’

 

‘This violence! You know I can’t stand violence.’ Her mouth drew up into a little bow of disapproval. He tried not to think of all the times she’d screamed for Tyson Fury to beat his opponent to a bloody pulp. But sure, violence was bad.

 

‘Yes, mum.’ He wasn’t sure it was true. Sebastian knew he had it in him, but for the two years he’d been away, nothing had provoked him. Some quiet midnights it all ran through his brain like a film, that Saturday in the club. That bloody bruiser Cunningham—scourge of the town, or at least the east side. Normally everyone just gave him a wide berth, especially when he’d had a pint or ten.

 

But that night Cunningham had fixed on Renee.

 

She had been looking good. Sebastian marveled at the way her hair bounced above the glittery eyes. He didn’t know how women got their eye brows to look like doll perfection but she was a living doll that night in a knock out of a dress. Not red but darker—burgundy maybe. Sebastian was just up at the bar to order when he heard Cunningham go off on all the things he was going to do to her, his lascivious tongue hanging out as he bragged.

 

Sebastian didn’t recall punching him. He did see the teeth later, in dreams. He remembered the blood. There was just so much of it. It wasn’t his fault, the court decided later, that Cunningham had stepped back into that bar stool, tangled his legs, fell and snapped his neck. Misadventure, sure—but he started it. Sebastian didn’t really notice his broken hand until it had already been bandaged up. He didn’t protest as they read the sentence.

 

Renee was safe. That was all that mattered. They ought to have given him a medal.

 

He couldn’t resist very long. Out the door and down into the centre where more shops had closed. The empty windows multiplied like shadows of a plague. The big block letters of M&S defied the darkness and he pushed through the double doors, eyes eager to find her.

 

She was folding jumpers for a display. It was like magic how the rumpled knits smoothed under her hands, lining up in a neat pile. ‘Hey, Renee.’

 

Her smile warmed him. All those nights he’d gone to bed with her smile before him, that photo cut from the paper—having one-sided conversations. Thoughts of her got him through the long two years. Anticipating this moment had given him life.

 

‘Hello.’ Her look was expectant. ‘Can I help you?’

 

‘It’s Sebastian.’

 

She stared and then a spark of recognition. ‘Oh, from number 12. Not seen you in a while.’

 

‘No.’ He wanted to say so much, but the words jammed in his throat as if he had swallowed something living, struggling and choking him. Everything in his mouth sounded so stupid. You saved my life.

 

‘Renee! Lunch!’ A voice behind him sounded matronly—kind but firm.

 

‘That’s my break,’ Renee said apologetically. ‘Do you want me to get someone else for you? They’re real sticklers about being timely on our breaks.’

 

‘No. Just looking.’

 

‘See you round.’ She patted the stack of jumpers and then turned away. For a moment Sebastian thought to chase after her, to explain everything, but he let her just walk away.

 

As Sebastian stood on the empty street, the rain began to fall. It was funny, but he felt like a ghost. Was he even real?

Bio: A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. Publications include LOVE IS A GRIFT and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, SATAN’S SORORITY from Fahrenheit 13 Press,  as well as tales in the 2016 Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes . Wynd’s stories have been translated into German, Italian, Polish and Slovene. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here. Find Wynd on Facebook and Twitter.

love-is-a-grift

Short Story in a Song—Fountains Of Wayne’s “Little Red Light” by SW Lauden

There’s nothing quite like falling down a musical rabbit hole. Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Fountains Of Wayne. I got hooked on the band’s slacker power pop after hearing their self-titled debut in 1996, sticking with them all the way through their 2003 hit, “Stacy’s Mom.” That single lands them on a lot of “One Hit Wonder” lists these days, which is too bad since it’s definitely not their best song. Hell, it’s not even the best song on the album Welcome Interstate Managers. That honor goes to “Little Red Light.” It would make a great short story.

Our protagonist is another lost soul among the hordes of New York. Reeling from a recent break up, he goes through the motions at work and suffers through his daily commute. The rain pours down and the car radio might be broken, but it’s the tiny in-between moments throughout his days that truly test him. Desperate to hear from his ex, he repeatedly checks his various inboxes for non-existent messages. They say time will heal a broken heart, but for now he relies on the bottle hidden in his desk to kill the pain. It helps him feel numb, but doesn’t bring her back. It’s starting to seem like nothing will.

S.W. Lauden is the author of the Greg Salem punk rock P.I. series includes BAD CITIZEN CORPORATIONGRIZZLY SEASON and HANG TIME (Rare Bird Books). He is also the co-host of the Writer Types podcast. Steve lives in LA.
s w lauden

TORCH NOIR by GRAHAM WYND

 

libby

Libby Holman (1904 – 1971) by Sarony New York, ca. 1928.

The torch singer Libby Holman had a life so wild there have been at least two films inspired by it. In 1904 she was born to what had been a well-to-do Jewish family in Ohio—that is until her uncle embezzled all their money. Young Elizabeth graduated from the University of Cincinnati but she soon headed to Broadway to pursue the glitter. She became pals with actor Clifton Webb (noiristas know him as Lyle Waldecker in Laura), who dubbed her ‘The Statue of Libby’ (witty guy).

 

They both appeared in the revue The Little Show in 1929, which proved to be her big break. Her torchy rendition of the bluesy ‘Moanin’ Low’ struck a chord and she had curtain calls every night to hear her sing it again.

 

Soon everyone on Broadway was gaga for her sexy delivery and her signature style: she has been credited as the inventor of the strapless dress. Holman lived up to the reputation with an eclectic love life including lovers included DuPont heiress Louisa d’Andelot Carpenter (who stood by her through a lot), actress Jeanne Eagels, and the writer Jane Bowles, as well as Montgomery Clift.

 

The real drama that inspired the films, however, was her marriage with tobacco heir Zachary Smith Reynolds. Seven years her junior he was nonetheless completely obsessed and used his wealth to fly around after Holman until she agreed to marry him and give up her career. That lasted a year: she was a born performer. His snooty family hated her theatrical friends visiting the estate in Winston-Salem. At a party where she told her husband she was pregnant—rumour had it, by Albert Bailey ‘Ab’ Walker and not by Reynolds—yet another argument flared and then a shot rang out. Reynolds was found shot in the head.

 

While authorities accepted the death was suicide, a coroner’s inquiry suggested murder. Holman and Walker were charged. Then some weird things happened. Local gawkers saw the heavily-veiled Holman at court and a rumour that she was ‘mixed race’ stirred up the hand-wringers. Holman biographer Milt Machlin also suggests that anti-Semitism played a role. All the controversy riled up the Reynolds family who pressured the DA to drop all the charges. Libby was free and gave birth in 1933 to her son Christopher Smith “Topper” Reynolds.

 

The films, not surprisingly, focus on this time. Reckless (1935) stars Jean Harlow, William Powell and Franchot Tone. Harlow’s Mona Leslie is a stage star, William Powell the gambler/manager who loves her but won’t admit it and Tone is the wealthy playboy who drinks too much and convinces her to marry him one night when they’re both drunk. Regrets and a hangover ensue.

 

Sing, Sinner, Sing! (1933) is an odd little film that clearly capitalises on the notoriety of Reynold’s death without really going into any of the details. Sad torch singer and drunken impulsive rich guy leads to tragedy. But there’s screwball humour too, which is part of what makes the film so odd. As it’s out of copyright, we remixed clips from it to create a music video for the theme song to LOVE IS A GRIFT, because Libby Holman is the kind of torch singer we hoped to evoke. Leila Hyams gives the singer Lela a wistful air even in the few happy moments.

 

Later in life Libby Holman devoted a lot of her time and money to environment concerns and fighting for civil rights, but her life was also hounded by tragedy, including the death of her son. Eventually she succumbed to suicide in 1971. Her Connecticut estate Treetops has been preserved environmentally by joining it to the Mianus River State Park and her manor has become the home of the Treetops Chamber Music Society. It’s a lovely legacy for the singer.

A writer of bleakly noirish tales with a bit of grim humour, Graham Wynd can be found in Dundee but would prefer you didn’t come looking. An English professor by day, Wynd grinds out darkly noir prose between trips to the local pub. Publications include LOVE IS A GRIFT and EXTRICATE from Fox Spirit Books, SATAN’S SORORITY from Fahrenheit 13 Press,  as well as tales in the 2016 Anthony Award-winning anthology Murder Under the Oaks and the Anthony Award-nominated Protectors 2: Heroes . Wynd’s stories have been translated into German, Italian, Polish and Slovene. See a full list of stories (including free reads) here. Find Wynd on Facebook and Twitter.

love-is-a-grift