This was another fantastic year for great sounds. Sad to have lost Pauline Oliveros, though glad I got to see her perform in September one more time. There were so many discoveries I may have to end up just linking to great stuff.
Without a doubt one of the best things to come out this year was this Cherry Red collection Sharon Signs to Cherry Red. What an amazing cornucopia of sounds! The sheer wealth of material suggests there is so much more to dig out from this time when we just keep hearing the same old hits. Mind you, I was astonished to hear my punk rock gal in the senior seminar was unaware of the Slits and the Raincoats (:-O) but I know how she feels being smacked in the face with new amazing sounds. Sure there’s some folks you know here — like The Mo-Dettes, Mari Wilson and Strawberry Switchblade and folks that went on to bigger fame under other names — but there will be plenty to delight and probably surprise you. Seriously, Caitlin O’Riordan’s band before the Pogues?! This set is in the car and has been spinning a lot.
On a Fall-related note, there was the Blaney release Urban Nature, which got the most press for having the ever irascible Mark E. Smith collaborating on vocals for a few tracks. Between managing the band and running the Salford Music Festival, you might wonder how he found time to record but the disc has a great variety of sounds that will delight folks beyond the city itself, drawing in besides Jenny Shuttleworth and Jim Watts, as well as Blaney’s daughter Bianca. That family & friends ambience lends a real sense of place — relaxed enough to experiment, but not slipshod in anyway. Tight: check it out.
Just last January and still a groove: check out Lys Guillorn’s Sunny Side Down, which I wrote up before.
The head of the incomparable Linear Obsessional Recordings, Richard Sanderson, has come out with a recording of his own that to my mind embodies the kind of thing that would delight Oliveros. A Thousand Concreted Pearls offers up the kind of meditative experimentation that really rewards attentive listening. If you think ‘accordion’ and immediately blanch, this is the album to change your mind forever as to what the instrument can accomplish. Endlessly fascinating and engaging.
I just got this and am completely captivated; check out everything by Linear Obsessional and you’re bound to find something to fascinate you, too.
And if you’re of a folk horror turn of mind, may I recommend:
For the more experimental:
As Aunty Fox says:
Our first crime themed anthology featuring crime, fantasy, horror, humour and baked goods. It’s basically just like one of our events.
10 stories, by ten authors, all with a crime at their heart, some of them with biscuits. Whether that is the stories or the authors I leave to you.
Elf Prefix by Graham Wynd
Between Love and Hat by Jay Eales
Ghost Signals by James Bennett
No Mercy by K.D. Kinchen
That’s the Way the Cookie Crumbles by Penny Jones
Feeding the Fish by Carol Borden
Mermaids in Cape Town by Mame Diene
Patron by E.J. Davies
The Price of a Biscuit by Kate Coe
The Princess, The Pekingese and the Ivory Box by R.A. Kennedy
Buy You Left Your Biscuit Behind / Amazon.com
New crime coming atcha soon: from Fox Spirit Books it’s You Left Your Biscuit Behind. Here’s a teaser from my noir story with a twist, “Elf Prefix”:
Yes, of course that title’s a nod to a Fall song. Did you expect any less?
Kate Coe reviews the Fox Pockets collection Missing Monarchs with some kind words about my story ‘Headless in Bury’:
The anthology starts with Headless in Bury, a fun hardboiled detective investigation crossed with Viking mythology that has a nice twist at the end.
Check it out for more praise for the Fox Spirit skulk. Good to get some reviews.
Brush up your Deutsche sprach with some of the premiere names in horror und crime. Coming soon from Pulpcore, die anthologie wird sein kostenlos! Drop by Facebook to give them a like, schnell.
Includes my Fall-inspired story ‘Nenn’ mich nicht Liebling’ AKA ‘Don’t Call Me Darling’ from Cerebral Caustic. Not sure if the stories will be in both languages. I shall investigate.
About the end of February there will be a new anthology put together by Aidan Thorn to honour of the courage of Henrietta Furchtenicht. These gritty stories have one other thing in common: they’re all about people who step up to the fight because they see someone in need. All proceeds from the sales will be donated to Myeloma Foundation.
From Henrietta’s foreword:
A few years ago I would have never imagined myself writing these words on the night before Christmas 2015. When my oncologist first diagnosed me with Multiple Myeloma in June of 2012 he only gave me 6 months to live. I was already in the last stage of this rare form of blood cancer that attacks the plasma cells found in the bone marrow. At the time of my diagnosis I had seven broken ribs on my left side. He told me that there was no cure for my type of cancer. We could only treat it to the point of remission with high doses of chemotherapy and stem cell transplants. This is when I was first introduced to Dr. Guido Tricot, the finest oncologist that Belgium has ever produced. He has kept me alive, though at times I thought he was trying to kill me in the process…
Table of Contents
Foreword – Henrietta Furchtenicht
Heir to the Throne – Keith Nixon
Jabs and Uppercuts – Jason Beech
Free Fall – Bill Baber
Strangers in Vegas – Aidan Thorn
Regarding Henri – Darren Sant
Uncle Jim – Ryan Bracha
The Caller – Cal Marcius
Deathsmell – Linda Angel
Pass the Parcel – Robert Cowan
Then Tommy Came Home – Craig Furchtenicht
The Burned Earth – Gareth Spark
Take My Pain – Matt Mattila
Inevitable – Graham Wynd (Kate Laity)
Low and Outside – Christopher Davis
Balancing the Scales – Dave Jaggers
Back in the Day – Gabriel Valjan
My story ‘Inevitable’ is a creepy tale of nuisance neighbours that gets more and more dangerous as the hours pass by and the vengeance escalates. Yes, of course it’s also a Fall song title.
In the coming days I’ll give some more teasers of what’s in store from this great slate of writers, writing from the heart — and kicking you in the gut.
Near 2 the Knuckle & Gritfiction honcho Darren Sant reads my Fall-inspired tale of mayhem, Grotesque. Check out his new line of audio recordings.
IT’S NOT REPETITION, IT’S DISCIPLINE
The Fall Definitive Documentary
The filmmakers admit the subtitle was added by the record company who put out the DVD and not something they aimed to do (and believe me, it’s not). This is a fan-made doco, filmed in bits over twelve years and then edited together. Other than footage of the band, you will not see a female face. Hardcore male fans who are interested only in other hardcore fans and ‘experts’ who look like themselves. It’s a bit curious in a band that has always had women in it (at one point Mark E. Smith was the only male in the band) the fandom is staggeringly male, to the point that Fall gigs are about the only concerts where there’s no line at the ladies.
The interviews that are here are sometimes interesting, Rollins in particular. Grant Showbiz offers some interesting behind-the-scenes tales. The ‘rare’ Mark E. Smith interview is the usual cat-and-mouse event that amuses the long time fans and probably confuses those unfamiliar with the jester-in-chief of the band.
The DVD will probably suit hardcore fans. It’s not something that will win over any new fans except those already destined to join the fold whether they know it or not.
I’LL BE YOUR MIRROR
Una Baines / Keith McDougall
I contributed to the campaign to publish this comics memoir and I could not be happier. Baines who was in The Fall, played with Nico and as well as founding The Fates and Poppycock, has a rich bounty of experiences to share. Her story’s beginning makes for a fascinating snapshot of the 1970s in Manchester. McDougall’s art has a kind of vintage underground/alt comics vibe (in the vein of Roberta Gregory, Mary Fleener and Carol Lay). Baines’ perception of the limits of her religious upbringing and her introduction to feminism and rock-n-roll come alive in the pages with both a charming sense of innocence and the dangerous power of true awakening.
Then one day a strange man walks into her life at a fair and she finds a partner in adventure. They share music and discuss politics and in a wonderfully drawn sequence, drop acid together.
This comic is such a delight and the best part is the last page says “To be continued” — and I certainly hope so as this will be a terrific memoir to enjoy for fans of music, Manchester, women, comics, revolutionary spirits and all.
See also: Furia by Fates
Catch up with all the overlooked A/V at Todd’s blog.
I am delighted to say my story ‘Life Just Bounces’ for has been selected for the upcoming Bouchercon anthology Murder Under the Oaks. Plus editor Art Taylor added, “Let me say how much I adored your story!”
Woot! I originally wrote this as a short play and when reminded by Thomas Pluck of the fast-approaching deadline for the anthology, hastily rewrote it as a short story. I still think it would great fun for performance. It made me laugh!
Yes, of course I looted another Fall song title:
See the full table of contents at Down & Out Books so you too can be gobsmacked (seriously, what company to be amongst!) and order a copy if you’re of a mind to do so.
See you at Bouchercon!