Review

Ride TLA Philly 7-22-17

Guest Review by: DSM (Thanks DSM for sharing this with the sis diss)

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Ride TLA Philly 7-22-17 photo by: DSM

Twenty-one years is a long time to wait for something. Then again, when you never thought that ‘something’ would ever happen again, the reward for all that delayed gratification can be really sweet. This may be why the patrons in Philly’s TLASaturday night conveyed a restless anticipation before Ride took the stage. People fidgeted, people shifted their weight from one foot to another in nervous rocking, others just kept eyes forward, talking out of the sides of their mouth to one another, as if they didn’t want to avert their eyes and miss the first cue that all that waiting would come to an end.

When Gardener, Bell, Queralt and Colbert walked on stage the rocking quickened, the necks telescoped forwards and upwards, and some began bouncing up and down. With the first note of “Lannoy Point”, the first track from their newest album Weather Diaries released June 16th, it was realized – faces turned toward each other, some smiling at each other with a contented half smile, others with grins stretching ear to ear. It looked like some were giggling with glee.

Ride gathered a loyal following in 1990 with Smile, which consolidated prior EP material, and what is considered their debut album, Nowhere. The highly acclaimed album – Rolling Stone called it a ‘masterpiece’ – placed Ride in good company with The Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine… But the ride was short-lived. 1992 saw the release of another solid album, Going Blank Again, where the energy and musicianship again blended crisply from track to track. Four years and two diminished albums later, the band broke up. But those first two years left their mark on fans and critics alike.

Weather Diaries may be what could have or should have followed Going Blank Again. Its sounds are more of a refined progression than the band’s releases in ’94 and ’96. This may be the band’s rationale for providing a nice shuffle between 1990 to ’92 discography and their current release in their live set Saturday night. After their opening with “Lannoy Point” and the album’s following track “Charm Assault”, there was a crescendo of shouting and cheering when “Seagull”, the opening track from Nowhere sounded its first notes. For an hour and 45 minutes, the band weaved in and out new and older, with seemingly thoughtful progression through the set list. The set was crisp, the musicianship flawless, and a sonic wall of energy came from a surprisingly minimalist stack of Marshall and Vox amplifiers.

Mark Gardener and Andy Bell smoothly choreographed their harmonic vocals live. There’s no straining here with older voices. They’ve matured – and have said as much in recent interviews –  and looked like they were enjoying it. They intertwined their guitar work seamlessly as well. Loz Colbert’s drumming is a terrific balance of control and speed, again demonstrating an individual well skilled in his playing ability. His articulation of percussion in sound and movement is as fun to watch as it is to hear and feel. Steve Queralt serves up the support that has been evident throughout their recording history — bass lines that balance out the weaving  reverb of guitars, with just the right amount of intricacy sometimes to play a part in the weaving. From all four, studio session playing quality, with just the right amount of energy and variance from the studio tracks that you were undoubtedly listening live. They took “Drive Blind” and wonderfully embellished it past the seven-minute mark.

And that’s the key for my tastes in live performances from bands and music like this. Match the integrity of the studio production as much as possible, while serving up the energy and variance to remind us we’re live. As an endnote, a note about the night’s end. The encore concluded with the superb wall of sound from “Leave Them All Behind”, and as Colbert remained, he pulled out his phone and took a shot of the crowd. That should be a nice ending, but the crowd remained. The stomping and shouting had an even pace, and maybe that’s why it kept going minutes until the crew brought equipment back out, the four emerged, and gave us wonderful renditions of “Dreams Burn Down” and finally “Chelsea Girl”. Gardener graciously told us that was really a wrap, and Colbert saw fit to take another picture.

End notes after endnote… Tomorrow night is their D.C. show, and then they depart for the U.K. and a quick stop in Japan. They’ll be back to the U.S. on September 20th. And, if you have a notion to take a run and hope to ‘run’ into the band, Steve Q and Loz apparently like to take a jog, as they did in Philly this very morning.

DSM

 

Tim Kasher Johnny Brenda’s 6-1-17

DSC04881.JPGI don’t want to be wordy today. But I do want to share my fun from last night.  And it was fun, I can’t lie. I made it out to Tim Kasher at Johnny Brenda’s (which is one of my favorite Philly venues) even though I had found out that his set wouldn’t go on until 11pm.  So, let me just say there’s maybe 10 musicians that can keep me out way late, or make me use personal days to see their shows. Tim is one of them, he’s always been.  I have had his show planned for some time to be my summer kick off for concert season. Check the Sisters Dissonance archived reviews to see posts from years past- including a miniature interview I did with him awhile back. Anyway, I made it and I’m going to share some of it with you. I got an audio clip of him performing “Entertainer” a song from another band of his The Good Life seriously we also got to hear some Cursive too.

Audio clip of “Entertainer”


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So here’s some more background info. He released a new album recently titled No Resolution. I feel like it is the evolution of sorts from The Game of Monogamy released in 2010. I couldn’t miss my chance to hear him play his set from this newest release- and of course we also got so much more. I am not surprised.

I took some photos, and some videos and some audio clips. Browse it all, take a look at the (photos link here) – listen to the clips I added and enjoy! Try to check him and his talented band out on this tour. I hope he’s coming your way. Meanwhile I’m operating today on 3.5 hours sleep. Meh. Oh, and soon there will be some youtube videos (link here) once I get them uploaded so keep checking back.

You can listen to a clip of “Truly Freaking Out” from his release Adult Film which fell in between The Game of Monogmay and the latest ->No Resolution. 

The best part of this clip is the smashing glass in the background. A really happy woman (if you’re reading– hi! don’t be embarrassed, we were all excited and your dancing was truly part of the fun) twirled into a glass. It was obviously a smashing fun night.

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Okay, yeah. That was me being not wordy.

Till next show

~Ady

 

Interview + New Music Alert | Maesmynis

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Maesmynis

By Shan
All photos by Maesmynis

Eight years ago I stumbled upon on a song. It was one of those kinds that, for whatever reason, just hit me right in the gut . . . the kind of song that evokes that unnamed magical feeling when the music becomes bigger than itself and resonates within every cell in your body. As a fellow music addict, I am pretty sure you know what I’m talking about.

The song was “Garden Song” and I found it during one of my frequent visits to the Strummerville (now the Joe Strummer Foundation) website, perusing their DIY section–an early innovation that appeared during the dawn of sites like Soundcloud. Strummerville DIY was their version and allowed visitors to hear a song by some of the selected talent (the stipulation being that the band was unsigned and had no record contract, therefore allowing bands some well-deserved exposure). The band in question in this instance was The Cuban Heels, and it prompted an immediate frantic search for more by them.

The first thing I discovered was there were a couple other bands with the same name, so, taking on the challenge I sampled music of various other origins (nope not that one, no I don’t think they’re from Scotland) and I started to wonder if the search would end there. But then the clouds parted, the sun blared in my eyes and I found a thread of information that lead me to the right place, the Cuban Heels, the ones from Bristol England, and oh shit!, a band that existed until about 3 years prior. It was a posting that then-Heels guitarist Chris Venables had made about the disbandment of the band, and offered to anyone who found his post that was interested, a disc containing all of the music they had recorded, for free. I was bummed to learn that they were no longer an entity, but, what!? I was thrilled to suddenly have hit the lottery with a treasure box of their songs potentially on the horizon.

The short of it is this. Chris did indeed send me a cd, kindly ignoring the fact that the parcel had to be sent overseas to get to me, and The Cuban Heels quickly became one of my favorite bands ever that no longer existed, and I wore–and continue to wear–a hole in that cd from repeat listening (Now that the cd has been converted for my iPhone, I have to stop to ask . . .can you wear a hole in digital music? I think the answer could be yes).

Flash forward to last year when a posting on the Cuban Heels Facebook  page announced a new page to follow. Hmmm? What could this be? Alas! Hark! Yessss! and all those other extreme swearwords of excitement. It was the announcement about the reforming of a new band from the ashes of the Heels . . . Maesymnis had been born! I bought the album as soon as it came out and devoured it, making them one of my all-time favorite bands that are not no longer existing.

To celebrate the music, I got in touch with Chris to work out doing a transcontinental interview, which follows below. Before we get to it, you can check out some of their songs via YouTube, follow them on Facebook (tell them Sis Diss sent you!), and grab some of their music here.

You can check out  The Cuban Heels on Soundcloud, including the now infamous-in-my-book Garden Song.”  I also discovered during the course of writing this article that their SoundCloud is even more evidence of their uncanny ability to ceaselessly and prolifically create beautiful music together. Searching for Garden Song yielded even more magic, as I discovered The Soundcloud now contains even more songs, many, many I have not heard yet myself, that were not part of the cd. I think I’m going to be pretty busy absorbing all these great tunes for the next few months. I suggest you do the same!

Special thanks to Aron, Marcus and Chris for taking time to make this interview possible!

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AA – Aron Attwood
MA – Marcus Attwood
CV – Chris Venables
SD – Shan / SisDiss

SD – You were the Cuban Heels and then you weren’t for a while, and then you became Maesmynis. What where you in between?

AA – Most of us embraced normal life. Being in a band can be a very overwhelming experience. It makes you sort of selfish when you set your mind to a single almost impossible task. Things fall by the wayside, so it was nice to get back to a simple life and interact with friends and family on a more personal level rather than being constantly distracted with other things that seem more important.

I personally had to get as far away as possible for my own sanity so decided to move to Australia for a short while. Unfortunately while I was there I got caught up with EMI Australia through a solo album of mine and I was landed right back to square one. I did a short UK tour when I got back to England with a shit punk rock band called ‪Towers of London. Fun and shit at the same time. It was like going on holiday with complete strangers then finding out you have nothing in common with them.

I ran my own studio for a while, played in a few local bands, one Birmingham band called Liner (with old friend Alex Callaghan) got a songwriting diploma, moved to stroud and am playing in a couple of really fun bands now. I don’t take it all that seriously anymore. I just try to enjoy the moments as they happen. It’s still very difficult to avoid the cycle of excitement and disappointment though. That’s still my biggest work in progress.

MA – So the Cuban heels came to the end of their run but the music continued.  Aron joined Alex in his band ‘Liner’ and started producing other bands as well as developing his own songwriting.  Russ joined Marcus in ‘Transit Cop’ (quickly being promoted from van driver to second guitar) and then later teamed up with Chris to form ‘The Ripleys’.  After ‘ Liner’, Aron and Alex would later form ‘Mule’ with Joel.  Steve and Joel subsequently hooked up with a third party Will to form the power trio ‘ ‪Biff Bang Pow’.

CV – Steve also played in a couple of punk bands ‘Waiting for Taylor’ and ‘Dead Kids’. Working full time to support ourselves whilst being in a full time band on top became overwhelming.  We remained friends and we’ve always loved making music and so that never went away.  What went away was the practicing 3 days a week and gigging 3 times a week that took quite a toll.

SD – How has the lineup changed since the Cuban Heels, and what brought you all back together (perhaps you picked up my mental messages imploring you to)?

AA – I have been working on my psychic abilities and definitely picked up on some encouragement from over the Atlantic. Unfortunately I have also been picking up the shipping forecast and the local police radios.

Seriously though we always jam together whenever we can, and have played together in various line ups. This is the first line up that includes all the former Heels though. Chris and Russ had a band called The Ripleys which I contributed to. Me Joel and Alex had an on off project called Mule. Dan had his one man show The Nine Lives of Henry the Cat on Ice, where he would play prog versions of the damned and sex pistols while being pulled on a sleigh.

Russ getting married brought us all back together though. Rather than a traditional stag do, we decided to get together and have a songwriting weekend instead. All the heels with the addition of my brother Marcus, our school friend Steve and Alex from Liner and Mule. This proved so productive and fun that we did it a few more times. We eventually decided we should properly record some of the mountain of songs we had written and the obvious next step after that was to gig it too.

CV – We’re the same, Joel (Stevens), Russ (Mulligan), Aron, Dan (Wells) and me (Chris) but now have also Al (Callaghan), Marcus, and Steve (Payne).  When it came to one of the ex-heels getting married for a “stag do” we decided to arrange a songwriting weekend for musical friends which included all original heels plus 3 others.  Russ and I were inspired by Karl Coryat and Nicholas Dobson’s The Frustrated Songwriter’s Handbook, in which you are forced to individually write songs for 12 hours straight!  We played around with the format quite a lot to make it more collaborative.

SD – I’ve seen the mini documentary floating around online and your recording space looks idyllic. What was the experience like and what part did it play in influencing your record? How did you find your space?

AA – The first place we got together as the full group was Russ’s stag do. At a house in Wales in a hamlet called Maesmynis. A beautiful, remote country hide-away. We returned back there a second time, but unfortunately the owners sold the property. We convened at Chris’s house in Oxfordshire for another session, then recorded at Steve Winwoods studio near Cheltenham. We have been very lucky to have managed to find very idyllic inspiring spaces to work in. That makes a huge difference.

CV – The video shows two different places.  The place with the beautiful rolling countryside is in a hamlet in central Wales called “Maesmynis”.  It was a cottage we hired for the writing weekend – we chose central Wales primarily because it’s cheap to hire a house in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours (in order that lots of noise can be made) but I also had a slight hankering to pay homage to Led Zep who also retreated to a cottage in Wales to write Led Zep III.

SD – It looks to me like everyone is multi-talented and plays and sings in different configurations. How was it decided for each song who played what? Did everyone have a hand in writing or do you have a principal writer?

AA – Everyone writes, and usually the person who comes up with the vocal idea sings. The songwriting process is an organised game. Generally in the morning everyone finds a quiet spot on their own and writes solo for about an hour. Then we come back and pick a name out of a hat and partner up in pairs. You play what you have to each other. Either a riff, some lyrics, a melody or a complete song, it doesn’t matter. The idea is to just flow and be creative with the prospect of other people adding parts to what you have. There are two very good lead singers in the band who would sometimes be used if we felt the song needed a more solid lead vocal but quite often the person who wrote the vocal would have their own inimitable way of putting the vocal across. Generally I would end up on the drums, and lead guitar would be either Marcus or Chris. Dan is our ‪Garth Hudson and would cover all the keyboards and Steve rolled blunts and made us all laugh. On the whole though anyone could be asked to do pretty much anything so we have probably played in just about every conceivable variation eight people could play in.

CV – The answer to this is hand in hand with the original idea for the songwriting stag do.  30 minutes individually to generate ideas.  Pairs formed by names being drawn out of a hat and another 30 mins to come up with music!  The songs all then generally had a genesis from either one or two people within the group and then were worked to completion by anywhere from one to eight of the members.  To foster the sense of camaraderie and collaboration we decided that songs be credited to all members even though in reality it was usually one or two per song who would be the writers.  There was no principal writer.  All members had a hand in writing at least one of the tunes on the album.  There are 6 different lead vocalists on the record.  Most of the group are competent on a number of different instruments.  Generally when it came to recording everyone played parts in line with what was played during the writing process.  However there were exceptions such as that although 3 or 4 of us are decent on the drums we have a world class drummer in Aron so it didn’t make sense for any of the rest of us to play drums on the recording.

SD – Who are some of your influences (long term growing up type) and who are you listening to these days?

AA – Me and Chris were at primary school together and were into retro music, 60s, 70s etc.  It wasn’t something you talked about openly. I distinctly remember getting some Motown acetate records on a cereal box and dancing around to them at Chris’s and thinking we should be in a band and do this kind of stuff. We went to a few formative gigs together growing up. Reef, ‪Supergrass and a few others. Later on people like ‪the Flaming Lips and Beck.

I have gone through all the major phases since then. A Beatles phase, a bob Marley phase, a Dylan phase. My most recent obsession has been ‪Tom Waits. I have so much admiration for his conviction and craftsmanship. His catalogue is so rich it never fails to inspire me.

CV – Amongst the 8 of us I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t appreciate the 60s and 70s greats; Beatles, Stones, Credence, Bowie.  Outside of that there is quite an eclectic taste within the group taking in punk, soul, DnB, jazz.  For me, when music started becoming important my first heroes were ‪Pearl Jam, Lemonheads, Nirvana, RHCP, Pumpkins, ‪Weezer, REM, ‪Radiohead.  Later Jellyfish, ‪Flaming Lips, ‪Tom Waits, ‪PJ Harvey, ‪Pixies, ‪Fleet Foxes. Most recently been listening to some old jazz blues records; Billie Holliday, ‪Nina Simone, ‪Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli.

SD – If there was one single word to describe what Maesmynis brings to the world, what would it be?

AA – Friendship

CV – Trouble

Shan – Besides the Cuban Heels and Maesmynis, is there any other music out there from any of you that is available online for our readers to seek out?

‘Magic 8 Ball’ – Aron Attwood – available on Spotify/itunes etc.

‪https://open.spotify.com/artist/6FLnXFoCy3bF9l5sHecL8e

‘Nothing like before’ – The Ripleys  (Russ & Chris) – available on Spotify/itunes etc.

‪https://open.spotify.com/artist/3vIi0v6TsyIt7nWzCCN7br

‪https://m.soundcloud.com/steve-payne

All bands mentioned above have have various levels of presence out there on the infoweb.

SD – I know that you ha[d] a gig coming up very soon in Bristol. Barring me finding a teleportation device, will it be recorded so you can share with the rest of the world? And are there any future plans for more music?

CV – With all focus on the logistics of making it right on the night alas the gig wasn’t recorded as such.  However there are some great photos and a couple of short (surprisingly reasonable quality) phone clips to at least give a flavour of the night on the facebook page.

AA – It is very difficult to organise eight busy people to get together for a beer let alone rehearsals and a gig so the prospect of another gig is unlikely but not out of the question. We treated the last gig like a one off but if something seems doable in the future then we would all love to do it.

[SD – dig around for clips of their live show, and also definitely check out their cover of Beastie Boys’ Sabotage from that night!]

SD – If you were each a condiment, topping or spice…what are you in terms of what you bring to the band?

AA – (all the below)

Alex, definitely chilli. He adds heat and spice. His energy is so irrepressible it’s infectious.

Marcus, salt or pepper. You probably want at least a little bit on everything.

Chris, cheesehe’s the topping that everyone loves. Comfort food you couldn’t live without that binds everything together. Until he plays a guitar solo then he’s jalapeño!

Steve, weed browniesvery sweet and makes everyone laugh like children.

Dan, hundreds and thousandshe’s the magic on top of everything. Sprinkling his fairy dust on top.

Russ, mayonnaisecos he’s white and likes chips.

Joel, horseradishcos he likes to go with something beefy.

CV – Aron, poppy seeds–nutty, magic powers, illegal in several countries.

PS
SD – Maesmynis (pronounced ‘Maze-menace’ if you’re in the band, or if you’re Welsh ‘Mice-minnis’) is available on iTunes and Amazon– treat yo’self and go get it!