Big-hearted Jamie Audio Antihero has put together another excellent charity compilation – in fact I think this is the best yet. There’s the big names – well, you know what I mean – who are already Friends of the Label (Jeffrey Lewis, Darren Hayman, both lovely songs); the amazing turn-out of the label’s own stars (Wartgore Hellsnicker, Ben Shaw, Jack Hayter, Paul Hawkins & the Awkward Silences, Broken Shoulder and Fighting Kites… plus new AAH band Cloud, who we will be hearing more from soon); the post-AAH bands (The Jonbarr Hinge); and some established/emerging bands like The Society of Poor Academics and Internet Forever.
That sounds like a lot of tracks? Damn right it is – 31 songs, nearly 2 hours. And it’s great. The mighty Wartgore contribute nearly 8 minutes of craziness, the rest of the AAH roster contribute alternative takes and hard-to-find stuff, and there are other crackers scattered throughout the rest of the collection. It manages to be both a great AAH sampler and an end-of-term report on the class of 2013, like those cassettes you used to get on the front of magazines.
And it supports a very good cause – Rape Crisis England & Wales and Rape Crisis Scotland. You can get the compilation for a minimum donation of £3.99 or you could pay more. £4+ for 2 hours of music. What are you waiting for? Stream the lot then buy it here – though I should warn you that Jamie’s track-by-track guide includes puzzling wrestling chat.
If you want a taster then I suggest these two tracks. First, this lovely version of Jack Hayter’s ‘Sweet JD’, one of my personal favourites from his Sisters of St Anthony singles series, which is also highly recommended; find it here.
And second, this little belter from Internet Forever, from their album of last year. This is perfect pop, somewhere in the vicinity of Helen Love. The album can be found here.
Jack Hayter’s relationship with the Audio Antihero label continues with a series of twelve monthly singles, available by subscription. The first release, ‘The Shackleton’, is a beautiful thing, a bittersweet ballad sung in Hayter’s marvellously lived-in voice. It starts off as a wryly observed story of a teenage relationship and the narrator’s unrequited crush on Sally Evans, who [it turns out] was much keener on Graham; but they are “two cold war kids on a horsehair mattress’, in the shadow of the bomb, and the song becomes a tale of equally unsatisfying relationships in the present day. It ends with the drone of the Avro-Shackleton, the noise that haunted those cold war kids as they listened to it “hunting the subs in the North East Atlantic”. This is superb storytelling – maybe it’s autobiographical, it doesn’t matter – with a perfectly evoked sense of time and place.
If these singles are all going to be this good, this is going to be a fantastic series. See what I mean below:
Jack Hayter – ‘The Shackleton’
Go and sign up for the series here – £4.99 for a dozen songs. Audio Antihero will also throw in the excellent Sucky Tart CD EP, reviewed here, for another couple of quid, which is a steal. And there’s a nice interview on Bubblegunked here, from which I gleaned the name of the Avro-Shackleton.
And here’s AAH stalwart Benjamin Shaw’s cover for ‘The Shackleton':
We’ll be keeping an eye on this series over the next twelve months!
Audio Antihero is two years old. The label, ‘specialists in commercial suicide’, have released an amazing series of EPs over the last two years, bookended by Benjamin Shaw’s new album (reviewed here) and of course by the Nosferatu D2 album that started everything. And now Jamie Halliday is throwing a party, pretty much everyone associated with the label is playing or DJing, and YOU’RE INVITED.
So for absolutely nothing you’ll get to hear (deep breath) sets from Broken Shoulder, Jack Hayter, Benjamin Shaw (+ band!), and Fighting Kites; and DJ sets from AAH artiste Paul Hawkins, Ben Parker (Nosferatu D2 and now Superman Revenge Squad), and promoter Stroke Your Beard. Not bad for free, eh? All at the Miller, 96 Snowsfields Road, London Bridge, London SE1 3SS (click for more on gig and venue), doors at 7pm. Free entry.
To put you in the mood here’s two snippets from the split Fighting Kites/Broken Shoulder EP AAH put out earlier this year. A ‘side’ of Fighting Kites’ sunny post-rock and a ‘side’ of Broken Shoulder’s minimalist electronic noise, both highly recommended. You can still buy the EP from AAH here.
‘Wotjek The Bear’ – Fighting Kites
‘Organomegaly’ – Broken Shoulder
Anyway – any BBO readers in the London area should get themselves to this. Given our enormous audience it might be foolhardy to say I’ll buy you all a drink, but if you can work out who I am and say hello I might just do that…
This is our 200th post. We’re both a little surprised that we got this far. Yet rather than celebrate our success (*splutter*) and write some bollocks that only a handful of people will read, we want to give some space to something far more deserving.
The images of destruction and suffering coming out of Japan recently have been staggeringly awful and unspeakably horrendous. Even the most cynical and hardhearted cannot fail to be moved (although it seems some are, such as the twitter twats who joked about Godzilla on the day of the earthquake and tsunami). The fact we’ve both got friends out there whom we’ve been privileged enough to go visit have made the images somehow more affecting.
Anyway, anything we try to say here about the pain or devastation will no doubt sound trite. All we can do is point you towards two marvellous musical endeavours that are doing their bit for the relief effort.
First up, those lovely people at Audio Antihero have put together a corking compilation of 34 tracks for a minimum price of £3.99. That’s 11.735294117647058823 pennies per track if you’re not generous to donate more. And it’s chocked full of BBO friendly artists (Nosferatu D2 and Jack Hayter, etc.) plus others that we probably should have reviewed. Go get it HERE.
Second, for Northern types, the post-prog/time signature shapeshifting/multi-genre spectacular BEAST that is Trojan Horse have assembled a line-up for The Ruby Lounge on the 14th of April that easily commands the title ‘Best in Manchester right now, k?’.
For a fiver not only do you get a roster of quality acts you get a raffle (I love raffles. I do hope there’s a bottle of Blue Nun and a box of Family Circle biscuits). Buy your tickets HERE. And while you’ve got your wallet out buy Trojan Horse’s eponymous début HERE (they need to fund their beard care after all).
That is all. Get donating.
angrybonbon & JKneale
This EP from the talented Hefner and Dollboy guitarist/all-rounder is the latest release from pocket dynamos Audio Antihero, who have featured here before with Nosferatu D2 and Benjamin Shaw (who did the sleeve). The four songs are something like folk, with the lead track (and clue to the title) ‘I Stole The Cutty Sark’ developing from the slightest melody possible into a sea shanty – or at least the sound of the Thames foreshore. The other three are perhaps more intimate and less expansive, all coloured by a pleasantly melancholy wooziness of the Tom Waits/Tindersticks variety.
But the real strength of the EP is Hayter’s voice. It’s glorious – lived in, but not folk-by-the-yard. The empathetic warmth of it goes nicely with the occasionally sordid subject matter, which makes the whole thing rewardingly rich and strange. If it was all this smooth it might be cloying, but sometimes Hayter’s voice falters and breaks; sometimes we get a dash of Proper London to cut through this richness. The standout is probably ‘Jacquie I won’t mind’, the story of a man who has fallen for his sister-in-law, apparently told to Hayter by a plasterer who was doing some work for him… it still manages to be enormously affecting. A perfect, simple folksong of love and desire and regret and plastering.
‘I Stole The Cutty Sark’ – Jack Hayter – Sucky Tart
Buy the EP here, for crying out loud. It’s on iTunes and the other usual places, too. But if you’re tempted and just want the digital version, I recommend buying from Bandcamp where the whole thing is £1.79. £1.79!