17 December 2014

#SRCZEssential2014 // EPs of the Year 2014

It’s the time of the year when we start to recollect what went on in months past and what may well happen when the haze of another New Year commences once more. We’ve already revealed the albums that kept us entertained the most during 2014 but now it’s the turn of the humble E.P.

5 / White Sands – ‘White Sands EP’

This lovely little EP from White Sands (made up of members of #SRCZ favourites Novella, Mazes and Male Bonding) was released on very cool limited edition flexi disc with a zine and the more modern digital download earlier in 2014 and it’s still one of our favourites. Listen to ‘The Wait’ to find out just why…

4 / New Years Day – ‘Epidemic’

It’s not often we dip into metal but that’s not to say we’re averse to it. In fact, when we heard Defame me from the Epidemic EP we were instantly ear pricked. Heavy, gothic metal with shades of electronic and big choruses that work abound on Epidemic.

3 / Courtney Love – ‘Wedding Day’ / ‘You Know My Name’

It’s always a pleasure to hear new music from Courtney Love, (It doesn’t happen nearly enough to our minds) and this double A side is a good start in getting more. With her often underrated lyrics and delightfully grunge-pop sound on both tracks along with that trademark scream and the epic guitar delights of Wedding Day we loved this. More please!

2 / Science of the Lamps – ‘Candela E.P.’

We love lamps and we also love science. But on a more musical note, we love Science of the Lamps. The Candela E.P, launched in the unique surroundings of the Williamson Tunnels, a noted Heritage site in Liverpool, is three tracks of sophisticated pop that is sure to get you gently scatting the melodies of the songs on your commute. The delightful Id-Pop of Superhero Me is our highlight, but the full listening experience is recommended.

I / Us Baby Bear Bones – ‘Ursari’

Shortly before the release of Ursari, Us Baby Bear Bones announced the news of their ‘regeneration’. As a final record it certainly goes out on a high, retaining its wow factor many months down the line after myriad listens. Produced by Blood Red Shoes’ Steven Ansell, the dynamic and often hard edged sound of the songs works perfectly. Whatever happens next, we’ll be listening… 

15 December 2014

#SRCZ MixTape // December 2014 – Open Submission

December is here… and it’s rather cold. That, of course, is dependent on where you are in the world. There is one thing guaranteed to get the blood flowing and that is, of course, music. There’s nothing like it! Our December play list is short and sweet so please take a listen to it at your leisure. This playlist is not just for Chrstmas…

11 December 2014

Call Out // January 2015 MixTape Submissions Open on #SRCZ

You might be relieved to know that the #SRCZ MixTape is once again open and we’re accepting submissions for the December 2014 MixTape as of, well, right now! 

We’re feeling ready to have the best music thrown at us once more, (digitally, of course), and we’re leaving this at Open Submission. In fact, that’s what we’re gonna call it!

So, if you’re a band/solo artist/musical performance artist/ not a mime please send in your submissions by the deadline below with the following information:

1 – Band/artist name
2 – Song name
3 – Tell a little about yourself and your song.
4 – Your home city/country
5 – Your contact details!
6 - How you found out about the Call Out. 

Please send your submission via a link on SoundCloud only. Attachments will not be accepted!

Remember there will be other chances to submit in the future so don’t be disappointed if you don’t get through this time. That said, we’re all nice here at #SRCZ so don’t worry too much!

If you want to get your music heard by our readers please make sure to submit soon!
Deadline for submissions is Sunday January 6th at Midnight

And remember, we're open to all genres, countries, languages and BPMs! 

Many Thanks,

Team #SRCZ 

#SRCZ Music Review // Jim Pearson – Right Now Is The Moment That We Are Alive

It’s getting to that time of year when we stay indoors, huddled up in front of a digital box with hot drinks. It’s also the time when we start to consider deeper matters of the soul, propelled perhaps by the ever earlier setting of the sun. This is usually accompanied by song. The latest single from Wirral based singer-songwriter Jim Pearson is the rather good Right Now Is The Moment We Are Alive, perfect for such moments.

Running to just over five minutes and featuring a chorus of collaborators at the end of the sing along closing minutes the track is a simple affair. The message is simple; right now you are alive so enjoy it. The world might be falling apart but when it comes down to it, right now is all we have. It’s a succinct message and it’s delivered in a restrained manner that gradually builds up into a strong message imbued song.

Indeed, the song is very refreshing in its simplicity and for those who are listening closely enough you may spot the voices of just some of the following towards the end: Jo Bywater, The Kirk Owls, Ian Heath, Jeff Roberts, Scott Cryer, Caroline England, Henry Priestman, Phil Chisnall, Russell Cottier and members of The Wallasey Folk and Acoustic Club.
Now, go do something life affirming!


09 December 2014

#SRCZ Essential 2014 // Best Singles of 2014

10 / Shiina Ringo – ‘Netsuai Hakkakuchu’

Extracted from the compilation album Ukina, this song was produced by Yasutaka Nakata, (most well known for his work with a certain Kyary Pamyu Pamyu) and it was entirely possible such a combination of seemingly mismatched performers wouldn’t work. But, it did. And it resulted in one of the artist’s most impressive videos and addictive singles for a while.

9 / Freedom Fry – ‘Blackmailed’

We’ve had our eyes on Freedom Fry since we were turned onto their music with the Friends & Enemies EP in 2013. This stylish song and equally creepy yet riveting video set the perfect tone for enjoying this duo’s music. 

8 / Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – ‘Kira Kira Killer’

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is quietly rather good. It’s easy to dismiss J-Pop with a casual swipe but get past the commercial detritus it so often produces far too well and swiftly and there’s some magic. With its mix of pure pop melody, cutting edge production technology and bubblegum pop videos that are incredibly detailed this just works. And when it works, you know it. 

7 / David Bowie – ‘Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime)’

Extracted from the rather fantastic triple album retrospective Nothing Has Changed, Sue (Or In A Season Of Crime) is a typical Bowie curve ball away from the obvious and with its modern jazz trappings it works very well indeed. Not to be out done, it’s companion track on single ‘Tis A Pity She’s A Whore is even more of an experimental piece. More Bowie can only be good… 

6 / Science of the Lamps – ‘Superhero Me’

We’ve been hearing this song in the live setting much longer than in the studio setting but on both fronts it’s an ear worm of über proportions. With a suitably silly video that vanquishes the villains with superhero skills and plenty of musicality we’re pretty sure that the Do Ba Ba Do Ba refrain of the intro is the way forward… 

5 / Natalie McCool – ‘Wind Blows Harder’

Wind Blows Harder saw the return of Natalie McCool with an edgy, almost feral sound. The video sees a Hunger Games style confrontation in a mysterious wood between two tribes and the underlying furious beats of the song make all the more impact with the well choreographed visuals.   Make sure to check out the remixes from this song as well! 

4 / Mark Lanegan Band – ‘Floor of the Ocean’

We’ve quietly loved the music of Mark Lanegan for a while now. Whether he is collaborating, solo or, as on this release, with the titular Band there is much to get your teeth into. Floor of the Ocean is an album highlight and single and with this song we could feel the quality immediately. One listen just doesn’t suffice! 

3 / Neneh Cherry – ‘Everything’

Neneh Cherry is form favourite artist chez #SRCZ. Extracted from her excellent Blank Project album, part of our Albums of the Year, Everything closes the album with an extended jam that really merits its seven minute length. The tight, sparse production from Rocket Number Nine works perfectly with Cherry’s incisively timeless lyrics and the video is a work of minimalist art in itself. Everything really IS everything. 

2 / Argonaut – ‘TV’

If there’s one thing we like chez #SRCZ its music. We like it even more when music encourages new beginnings and positive distractions. TV is one such song, and with a low budget but pointedly cool video we are encouraged to put aside the TV and enjoy the fines things in life like good books, talking to people or making music. 

1 / Ex Cops –‘Black Soap’

The first single from Ex Cops excellent album is the addictive listen that is Black Soap. With an impossibly cool street scene video accompanying the song, we got right into this song from the first listen. 

07 December 2014

News // IDW Comics Announce ‘Millennium’ Mini Series For 2015

Following the revival of Chris Carter’s immensely popular The X Files in comic form for the well received The X Files: Season 10 and other short run release, IDW have announced the return of the series that followed, Millennium, for a limited series in January 2015.

Centering on main character Frank Black, the series was last on air in 1999, when the third and so-far final series concluded ambiguously. A press release from IDW said:

“Following his incredibly popular creation, The X-Files, Chris Carter produced another classic television series, Millennium. Early next year, the story of Frank Black continues in comics with a brand-new series from IDW! Overseen by Carter, this five-issue miniseries will bring the supernatural thriller back to fans! 

With the help of FBI Special Agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully, psychic consultant Frank Black saved the world from a malevolent and destructive conspiracy. But not all is what it seems as Frank begins to uncover the terrifying return of the Millennium Group! With their eyes now set on Frank’s daughter, Jordan, he’ll be calling upon old friends to again survive the oncoming threat.

Series writer Joe Harris says “Millennium swims in the some of the same waters as The X-Files, but with an entirely different purpose and it asks something entirely unique of its audience when contemplating the forces of good and evil pulling on the series’ troubled protagonist, Frank Black. It’s not just a mystery series, or an X-Files ‘Monster of the Week’-type experience. It’s more meditative than that. Throw in a rich mythology involving an apocalypse-chasing, cult-like organization that stretches back millennia in history and I’m as hooked as the many fans of Chris Carter’s *other* great show remain. *This* is who we are."

#SRCZ. – Culture is Everywhere -- 

04 December 2014

#SRCZ Album Flashback #32 // PJ Harvey – Is This Desire

It’s a fact that PJ Harvey has never released a truly bad album. You could even argue that each of her albums of so distinct they really couldn’t try to be bad if they wanted to. But out of all her release, the album that polarises critics the most is the album the artist has cited as her personal favourite.

The dark undercurrent that informs Is This Desire is certainly not unusual on a Harvey record, for sure, but with a comparatively stripped down sound for that point of her career, it must certainly have seemed a strange beast indeed compared to the raw Blues inf0rmed To Bring You My Love. But despite its aural distance from the past Is This Desire is one of Harvey’s career best releases.

It had never been too obvious on previous albums, but Harvey’s vocals and gloom inflected lyrics are something that must be listened to be truly enjoyed. With a more studied sound, these qualities shine through even more. Over the course of the album we hear various modern fairy tales based around the characters often mentioned in the song titles. Female names abound as song titles or narrative devices and with a more experimental production, that is often jarring even on later listens, Harvey creates an uncompromisingly dark collection of tales featuring murder, loneliness and other such gothic subtexts.

Of course, PJ Harvey has always been somewhat of a dark soul if her music is anything to go by and there is nothing wrong with that at all. Out of all of her album releases, it’s by far the most satisfying. There is a narrative thread at play that weaves together the aforementioned female characters with a surprisingly intimate mix of industrial soundscapes and digital beats that sound as warming to the ear as the most perfect wine on a dark summers evening.

The theme of the dark experiences of women characters, perhaps semi truthful or not, runs through the songs and is most effective on songs such as the distortion laden perfection of My Beautiful Leah, it’s narrative asking the listener if they have seen the titular Leah with her ‘black hair, brown eyes’ and it’s a refreshingly chorus free song that is as dramatic in two minutes as it needs to me.

Other highlights include The Sky Lit Up, a two minute dark-electro adventure that goes far in its short run time.  Indicative perhaps of the ‘difficult times’ that reportedly influenced the making of the album, it talks if walking in the city at night in ‘a world to be remembered in’ in perhaps one of the darkest moments hidden amongst the soundscapes of the album.

Running to just over forty minutes, Is This Desire has aged very well indeed. Quite often the use of electronic can date a record immensely; even just a few years later, but Is This Desire still holds much joy in the listening. It’s often troubled lyrical narrative is edgy but extremely visual and on songs such as single A Perfect Day Elise you can see that the experiment that Harvey and co-producers Flood and Head made together makes  a perfect, darkly effective sense even over a decade after its birth.

This is perhaps the kind of music that can only be made out of extreme difficulty in life, and although we will probably never know for sure just what made the birth of such a dark record possible, (Nor, indeed, do we need to.), we can be sure that Is This Desire is an album that has limitless listening potential.


02 December 2014

Preview // Top Reasons To Join The Circus: The Secret Circus @ Parr Street Studios [04/12/14]

WHAT does entertainment mean to you? Perhaps it's an evening at the pub watching the match, a night out on Wood Street with the usual suspects, or even nesting in your game-haven flat for the whole weekend... well for some of us, entertainment is a Circus.

We just can't make up our minds; our attention spans are constantly updating: a symptom of our generation's over-exposure to quick, limitless information perhaps? I can't even watch a film all the way through anymore - I have to pause in intervals to practice juggling, stab out a riff, or start another movie. It's not ADHD, it's 2014, and we're bored! BOOOOOOR... !!

As if in answer to our nightly howls, artist extraordinaire Chanel Samson has conjured up the answer, in collaboration with Eve Howlett of Carrot Club Promotions, to give the 'secret circus performers of Liverpool and it's supportive cult audience a night of their own at least once a month. We accept all the freaks and hope to make it a night of entertainment and true friends.'

This means Music, Magic, Spoken Word, Dance, Burlesque- and, AT LAST, some god damn Fire Juggling! That's some-!

1. Hot S@#% Right There!

Photography: My Boudoir

Fallen Angel's Petra will be juggling fire - and aside from the re-opening of Viva Brazil, Liverpool, this bright spark has performed at no less than Burning Man Festival, Nevada! Fire performers are universally cool, and in the theatrical interior of Parr Street Studios, Petra is sure to put on a show that'll leave you tingling all over. I will stop making fire puns soon, I can already feel myself burning out…

As if it wasn't getting hot enough around here, burlesque dancers Mimi Amore, and Cece Sinclair will be tickling your sensibilities with some beautifully choreographed dance. Head to Mimi Amore's website for a teaser if you've not been able to convince your partner to join you already!

Rachael Mellor, and Maria Angelica Andreassen are also set to deliver some wicked Dance straight into your soles... Good god I have to stop with these puns... after this-

2. Abra Kadabra!

Magic man David Alnwick isn't just a top magician... yes, magic. YES, MAGIIIIC- Mr Alnwick will have you clowns firmly by the balls with his magnificent stage presence. After watching him rock the mic at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival (which you can see HERE), I am under no illusions - Alnwick will be one of the brighter sparks of the evening, and if you miss him, I'll spend the rest of the night laughing in your face.

Think I'm tricking you? Check out The Skinny's Fred Fletch in his wonderful review of David Alnwick: Totally Ninja.

3. The Music, Man

 Airtight, The Good Host are rich in experience; a trait evident in their wealth of instruments, time signatures, harmonies, and most prominently, content. Front man and composer Jason Baxter has a gift with words - lyrics that don't just tell a story, they beckon your ear to explore their meanings. A very fitting event for such a theatrical big-band, seeing TGH alone would be worth the trip down on a Thursday night!

Norwegian artist Nils Martin will also be joining the stage - a new one for me: but that's what these nights are all about! New experiences-

4. Write Now!

'No poet will ever take the written word as a substitute for the spoken word; he knows that it is on the spoken word, and the spoken word only, that his art is founded.'
- Lascelles Abercrombie.

And thank you Google for that little gem!- Spoken Word artists Jake Demon Hawkes, and Tom George have more than a few words for you, and I for one am getting extremely impatient for my next word-smithery fix. Not since hearing rumours of The Wild Writers have I been so excited to hear Liverpool's Spoken Word culture exhude their gorgeous lexis all over the stage.

What would you rather hear come Thursday 4th December; the two-toned gargle of another football commentary, or a multi-verse of lyrical genius at The Secret Circus?

5. It's Where Everyone Will Be...

Because, seriously, why on this shining Earth would they be anywhere else, short of a medical emergency? And even then, it'd have to be a f*%@ing shark attack or something…

Every city has it's attractions; but there isn't a night-club, local pub, warehouse, basement party, hotel room, back-alley, restaurant, street act, or jam-packed-gig in LIVERPOOL that could hold one measly candle to what The Secret Circus stands for. Freaks, geeks, and psychos - it's time to shine.

(J.C.B. Crawford)