2020 Vision – Six of the Best

And so as we leave 2019 behind and head into a new year, who should you be keeping your eyes and ears open for in 2020? We’ll be continuing to highlight new music as we discover it; for now here are six of the best bands we saw for the first time this year and would highly recommend…

Deux Furieuses 

With second album My War is Your War firmly on the critically acclaimed shelf, powerhouse duo Deux Furieuses look fully set for bigger things to come. Their songs are confrontational yet accessible and they can play a band twice their size off the stage. Check out the video for Let Them Burn here.

Deux Furieuses

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Dry Cleaning 

While spoken word has taken centre stage this year with many bands, there is something different about Dry Cleaning’s sardonic compositions and delivery – captivating live, their debut EP Sweet Princess was released in August. Catch their take on the changing face of the monarchy with Magic of Meghan below.

Dry Cleaning

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Italia 90

Keeping the spirit of punk alive with a glut of dirty guitar breaks, Italia 90 have been building their material and stage presence for some time now. The result is an unexpected melee of brash social commentary with tunes that will stick around in your head for a long, long time. Latest EP Italia 90 III is available now; listen to Road to Hell here.

Italia 90

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Lazarus Kane

In September, Lazarus Kane burst into our psyche with scorching track Narcissus, an indicator of plenty more genre-crossing tracks full of electro disco beats and a faux southern drawl all adding to the creation of the artist’s character. The music alone is enough to muster intrigue as to what comes next – listen to Narcissus here.

Lazarus Kane

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The Ninth Wave

The ethereal world of The Ninth Wave is definitely worth taking a plunge into. With double vocals and synth-laden guitar riffs calling The Cure and Magazine to mind, their live sets are a compelling experience. Their status is heading skywards with debut album Infancy cementing their reputation as an accomplished and innovative act to be reckoned with. Check out the video for Human Behaviour here.

The Ninth Wave

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Walt Disco

To close the list an absolute gem of a band, Walt Disco grab the very best of 80s’ glitz and glamour and take it to a new sharp-edged level of flamboyance both musically and theatrically. There are undeniable echoes of the past with notes of The Associates and Siouxsie / Budgies’s kitscher side project The Creatures, and a live performance that you’ll miss at your peril. Watch the video for recent single Dancing Shoes below and keep this band very firmly on your radar.

Walt Disco

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Words and photos by Siobhan

30th December 2019

Live – Slug Money at Acapulco Bar

Slug Money, Acapulco Bar Portsmouth, 20th December 2019

We get lots of feedback on Breaking Glass saying that people use the site to find new music so here’s a little early Christmas present for you…

Slug Money are born from the depths of the Portsmouth music scene, a relatively small area which nonetheless boasts several growing festivals and a host of independent venues. With a chaos filled performance split between the stage and the crowd and an assault by a wall of vociferous guitars and drums, Slug Money are not a band you’ll forget easily, or want to. They have an energy reminiscent of early Stooges with some added humour and, as Iggy Pop himself once said, ‘What some people would call antics I would just call a good show’. Despite the disarray, make no mistake that their ability is assured given their past ventures – if you’ve ever chanced upon Melt Dunes, Make Them All Smile or Violet Mud then you’ll be pleased to see some familiar faces back in action. Having already supported the likes of Japanese TV, Flamingods and The Wants, things look pretty auspicious for the band. Keep an eye out for live dates and prepare for your senses to be whipped.

Here’s our gallery from their set at Acapulco Bar on Friday…

You can find Slug Money here

Words and photos by Siobhan

23rd December 2019

 

The 12 Songs of Christmas – Alternative Playlist

Maybe it doesn’t feel like Christmas until you’ve heard The Pogues & Kirsty trading insults or you’re wondering if The Waitresses will remember their cranberry this year? Just in case you’re searching for a Yuletide song that isn’t on loop in Tesco, we’ve rummaged through the chocolate Santas to track down a dozen lesser played festive tunes – have a listen on the playlist at the end…

Badly Drawn Boy – Donna & Blitzen

From the understated realms of Damon Gough’s songbook, another great track that almost brings in a Phil Spector feel, this was used on the soundtrack of About a Boy, which features a suitably disaffected Christmas scene of its own if you’re looking for holiday viewing.

The Damned – There Ain’t No Sanity Clause

I mean if you were recommending songs by The Damned this probably wouldn’t be top of the list but points for the title and unabashed attempt to hit the seasonal singles market (no, it didn’t).

The Flirtations – Christmas Time is Here Again

Packed full of 60s’ strings and harmonies, if it’s nostalgia you’re after then this ticks all the boxes.

Glasvegas – A Snowflake Fell and it Felt Like a Kiss

From their album of the same name, this track is proof that Christmas songs don’t have to be covered in Santa hats and cheesy lyrics; a beautiful song that gives us all a reality check with a glimpse of hope, highly apt in the current climate.

The Hives, Cyndi Lauper – A Christmas Duel

An unlikely Yuletide dialogue; his opening line ‘I bought no gifts this year and I slept with your sister’ gives you an idea that it’s not all mulled wine and party hats in the Pelle/Cyndi household. Amongst her responses? ‘I set your record collection on fire’. Cheers everyone!

Julian Casablancas – I Wish it was Christmas Today

No big surprises here, typically filled with indie guitars and Casablancas’ drawled vocals, it does what it says on the tin but an easy listen nonetheless.

The Kinks – Father Christmas

A slightly random offering from the band telling the story of Father Christmas getting mugged by some kids, all in their usual skiffle based rock n roll style; not one of their classics but quintessential Kinks anyway.

Low – Just Like Christmas

Charting the mild disappointment of a snowfall that never really amounted to much, Low’s Just Like Christmas provides a slightly more realistic version of a winter wonderland than some others; sometimes sad songs make fine Christmas songs, a whole album of them in this case.

The Raveonettes – The Christmas Song

If all you want for Christmas is some Danish indie pop-rock, then you’re in luck. With soft vocals and twangy guitars, this is one for a dark, reflective winter’s evening.

Sparks – Thank God it’s not Christmas

Taken from their mighty third album Kimono my House, this is a slow starter but once that inimitable falsetto and heavy beat kicks in, what’s not to love about the Mael brothers?

Tom Waits – Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis

As gnarly and gravelly as you’d expect from Tom Waits, his unapologetic look at the underside of life makes no exceptions for the festive season.

Tracey Thorn – Taking Down the Tree

A cover from the aforementioned Low Christmas album, a meeting of 80s’ laidback hitmakers completes our list, as Everything but the Girl’s Tracey Thorn adds a new take to this track also featuring Scritti Politti’s Green Gartside. Soulful and mournful all at once, this forms part of Thorn’s own festive album Tinsel and Lights – an alternative collection of Christmas songs all of its own.

You can hear all the tracks on this holly laden playlist…

 

Words by Siobhan

18th December 2019

 

 

Live – Penelope Isles + CIEL + ITCHY KID at Chalk

Penelope Isles / CIEL / ITCHY KID, Chalk Brighton, 11th December 2019

A significant night for Penelope Isles – their 100th show of the year, their biggest headline set to date and a hometown crowd full of love and support. Having established themselves playing smaller venues, the transition to a bigger stage was seamless and showcased exactly how far the band has come. Songs from their debut album Until the Tide Creeps In sounded smooth and accomplished (Leipzig a stand out track), their brand of jangly dream pop creating the warmest singalong, feel-good atmosphere from an audience packed into a sold out Chalk. Their performance was treated to a suitably psyched colourful backdrop from visual artist Innerstrings. A fitting addition to the Bella Union family, there is something reminiscent here of that swirling chasm of beautiful music that was Cocteau Twins. Penelope Isles have clearly worked hard to achieve what they have so far and, if Wednesday night was any indicator for the future, they’ll be going much, much further.

Support on the night came from CIEL, another outfit making waves on the local scene with softly delivered vocals over a dash of shoegaze and worth catching on future dates if you have the chance. A late inclusion on the bill, ITCHY KID provided a 5 minute introductory slot before Penelope Isles’ set with some spoken word – a fairly daunting prospect for a new act in front of so many people you would assume but well received. The idea left me thinking that this is actually a great way to offer an artist exposure and create interest without them needing half an hour’s worth of rehearsed material; it certainly did the trick here.

Check out all three artists via the links below once you’ve had a browse through our gallery here…

CIEL

ITCHY KID

Penelope Isles

Penelope Isles      ITCHY KID      CIEL

Photos by Siobhan

13th December 2019 

2019 Through the Lens

Every picture has a story to tell, so the saying goes. We asked photographers around the world to share their favourite shots of the year – no restrictions on style or subject matter and, it’s fair to say, there are some stories to be told from the results below. 

Take a leisurely look through – there is no specific order; the images have been mixed by format and content so please don’t stop scrolling till you reach the end…

(Header photo above by Nigel King, details in article)

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Ben Nevis
‘After climbing Ben Nevis for a few hours I couldn’t believe
these guys were carrying bikes up the mountain’

By Joe McKillop – Instagram

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Budapest at Night

By Rory Charles – Instagram

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Reflection
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, Fort Myers Florida

By Jennifer Mullins – Website / Instagram

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Solo
Amsterdam Central

By Juanita McKenzie – Website / Instagram / Portfolio

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Virgin Hot Air Balloon
(Taking off at Chrome Hill in the Peak District)

By 2324 Photography – Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

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The Reveal
‘Before this moment only the mother of the bride had seen Grace’s dress’

By Victoria Broad – Website / Instagram

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Langdale Pikes
The Lake District

By Derek Rickman – Instagram

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Something Great
Belfast – New Ulster University Campus

By Caoimhe Clements – Instagram

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Family Life
Vietnam

By Janet Parker – Twitter

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My Little Girl Was Born On A Ray Of Sound
(Inspired by the lyrics to She Is Good Beyond Evil by The Pop Group)

By Robert H King – Website / Instagram / Twitter

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All the Fun of the Fair
Brighton

By Siobhan at 16 Beasley St Photography – Website / Instagram / Twitter

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Aaron Edenborough of Hollow Horizons
(Behind the scenes during a video shoot)

By Jordan Kinsey Photography – Website / Instagram / Facebook

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Back Garden Football
Taylor and Logan

By Indie Images Photography – Instagram / Facebook

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Ochil Hills

By Alan Campbell Photography – Instagram

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The People’s Vote March
London

By Tim Beavis Photography – Website / Instagram / Twitter

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Saint Anne’s Square
Belfast

By Shane O’Neil – Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

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Southsea Castle Fountain at Night

By Hannah Mesquitta – Instagram / TwitterFacebook

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Model at One BC Clothing Shop
Nottingham

By Nigel King Photography – Website / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook

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Sitting with Mother

By Irena Siwiak Atamewan – Website / Instagram / Twitter

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It’s been an absolute pleasure to compile this amazing round up of beautiful shots that were captured across the year… a huge thank you to all the very talented photographers who have contributed – we’ll be keeping an eye on all of them to see what 2020 brings; if you’d like to do the same please check out and follow their work on the links provided.

Our Best Music Shots of 2019 feature will be live later this week.

All images are copyrighted by the photographer credited; please do not use without gaining their permission first.

9th December 2019

 

Exhibition – The Clash: London Calling (Museum of London)

Exhibition, Museum of London, 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020
The Clash: London Calling

Header photo – At the London Calling video shoot on the River Thames, 1979 © Pennie Smith

A band firmly born into the punk scene, over time The Clash introduced elements of reggae, dub, rockabilly, funk and ska into their music, bringing a whole new range of genres to a much wider audience. Their double LP London Calling was met with enthusiasm from music critics and fans alike and the album quickly cemented its place in rock history. In a review written shortly after its release, Rolling Stone’s Tom Carson wrote:

‘Merry and tough, passionate and large spirited, London Calling celebrates the romance of rock & roll rebellion in grand, epic terms. It doesn’t merely reaffirm The Clash’s own commitment to rock-as-revolution. Instead, the record ranges across the whole of rock & roll’s past for its sound, and digs deeply into rock legend, history, politics and myth for its images and themes… It’s so rich and far reaching that it leaves you not just exhilarated but exalted and triumphantly alive’.

Now 40 years since it hit the shelves, a new exhibition celebrating the album and the band has opened its doors, offering a glimpse behind the scenes and recalling some great memories along the way.

Photos: Left – Handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones © The Clash

Top right – A preliminary sketch by Ray Lowry for the cover artwork of the 1979 album London Calling by The Clash circa September 1979  © Samuel Lowry

Bottom right – A lyric fragment in Joe Strummer’s handwriting for the song Lost in the Supermarket, the 4 lines in black ink on the reverse of an Ernie Ball custom gauge strings paper envelope, the lyrics representing the chorus of the song  © Casbah Productions Ltd

Details from the press release:

‘The Museum of London is pleased to announce that the highly anticipated The Clash: London Calling, a free exhibit showcasing a collection of over 150 items from The Clash’s personal archive including notes, clothing, images and music, many previously unseen, is now open and free to view until 19th April 2020.

When The Clash’s third album London Calling was released in the winter of 1979, it was clear that the band had made an instant classic, an era defining masterpiece which still stands as one of rock’s all-time greatest albums.

London Calling was, and is, a hugely compelling melting pot of musical styles, driven by a passion for action and a fierce political anger, with music and lyrics which remain as relevant today as they were on release. As well as showcasing influences and context for the writing and recording of the seminal double album, this new exclusive exhibit at the Museum of London will also examine how the capital influenced The Clash as they became the most popular British band of the 20th century’.

Photos: Left – A 1950’s Gibson ES-295 with a white finish inside a hardshell contour case with orange plush lining; the guitar was used by Mick Jones during recording of the London Calling album and in the music video for the title track of the album, released as a single in December 1979 © The Clash

Top right – White shirt and leather jacket worn by The Clash © The Clash

Bottom right – Simonon’s Fender Precision bass was damaged on stage at The Palladium in New York City on 20th September 1979, as Simonon smashed it on the floor in an act of spontaneous and complete frustration © The Clash

The exhibition includes some instantly recognisable pieces alongside newly displayed items. Visitors will have the opportunity to view Paul Simonon’s smashed bass, the resulting photo of which appeared on the iconic album cover, a handwritten album sequence note by Mick Jones showing the final and correct order for all 4 sides of the album, one of Joe Strummer’s lyric notebooks and Topper Headon’s drum sticks, his only remaining items from this time. Additionally there will be previously unshown photos by legendary rock photographer Pennie Smith and original drafts from cartoonist and artist Ray Lowry’s sketchbooks, including the preliminary and final drafts for the album artwork.

Whether you’re a fan of the band, the era or just general music history, this exhibition will take you on a nostalgic journey while highlighting the differences between making music in the 70s and now. You can also become your own tour guide by downloading the free Smartify app to discover more detail about the artefacts on display as you look around.

If you’re in London in the next few months, take a trip down memory lane and check out the stories behind an album that has become, in its own right, a classic of our time.

Photo – The Clash on stage © Pennie Smith

The Clash: London Calling runs from 15th November 2019 – 19th April 2020

Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Opening times: Daily 10-6, galleries close at 5.40, closed 24th-26th December
Free entry – please check the website for further details of this and other exhibitions before visiting

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from the Museum of London and are copyrighted as credited

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

6th December 2019

 

Interview – Gork

If you were a garage-psych band from another planet with a predilection for cabbages, where else would you make your Earth home other than in Bristol? In a fortuitous turn of events, local labels Breakfast Records and Leisure Records have taken sextet Gork under their wings to release the band’s latest EP Class. You may find out more about the band here; at the very least you’ll find out more about tea towels and dressing up…

You’ve got a new EP out called Class, what’s the thinking behind the title?

It’s because it’s class mate.

The lead single That’s Plastic Mate is an ode to recycling, was it written with consideration of the climate change protests seen over the past year?

We live in a plastic world and it’s hard to avoid. The last year has seen an increased awareness of these issues and people are starting to change their habits but, if you’re not careful, you too could become a Evian bottle.

You’ve released Class on cassette and on a tea towel. Tea towels aren’t commonly used to distribute music, what made you opt for that particular washing up aid?

Not everyone has a deck or a cassette or CD player but pretty much everyone has a kitchen. We don’t want anyone to be left out, ya know?

You seem to enjoy playing around with a variety of sounds and instruments. Can you reveal some of the inspirations behind your creativity, perhaps those that are a little unexpected or unusual?

Recorders are a firm favourite, they can just sound so frantic when blasted. Also a selection of old Casio keyboards, the worse the sound the better they are.

I’ve heard that you enjoy raiding the dressing up box before performing, what’s been a personal favourite item that’s been worn on stage?

Our go to is the over-sized suit, but I recently enjoyed wearing a bin-man’s overalls found at a Sheffield market for £2. But perhaps the favourite is the chef outfit complete with Toque (big tall chef hat).

Much of what Gork produces seems to have a distinct sense of surreal humour – how do audiences usually respond to this, and what would be ideal Gork audience response?

People usually just don’t have a clue what’s going on which is great, the more freaked out the better. An audience that is up for it , and goes along with everything we throw at them, cabbage included, is super!

In your Bandcamp description you mention the inner small clown in all of us, and how your band has set it free and made it king – is there anyone of note in the public eye whose ‘inner clown’ you’d like to see freed?

100% Nicki Minaj ,she’s been papped a few times wearing a red nose but has always been shy to take the next step – I think she can do it.

And what can people expect to see from Gork in 2020?

New recordings, new faces, new videos, new instruments, new shoes…

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Class is out now on Breakfast Records/Leisure Records – you can watch the video for That’s Plastic Mate below and order the cassette or, more likely, the tea towel here.

 

Interview by Ryan Bell

5th December 2019