Saturday, 30 July 2011

In session in my August show - Emily & The Faves

When I encountered Emily & The Faves supporting Lovecraft earlier this year, I found the three-piece battling against somewhat unhelpful conditions. The sound in the venue was completely off, and a lesser band may well have succumbed and used the excuse to blag a bad gig. This is not a lesser band, however, and I came away feeling I'd experienced one of the best gigs of the year.

Emily & the Faves have now released their debut album (available from itunes and Probe Records in their home city of Liverpool) and a remarkable session for my Dandelion Radio show, which you can hear streaming from tomorrow at, with repeat streamings throughout August. The session features a full band version of 'Darth', from the album, a track which ably showcases their gauche yet melodic charms, plus intimately recorded acoustic renditions of two other tracks.

Again, the rather rudimentary conditions in which these acoustic versions were recorded are something the band responds to brilliantly, responding to my request for the session tracks by, er, tomorrow with an 'ok, we'll do them tonight', and using the opportunity to reveal further depths to their astonishing material. One of them, 'So Long Sucker' you may have heard in demo form on my show a few months back. The session version lends it an incredible sparseness that finds me listening to the original demo, and the version on the album, with fresh ears.

So many other perfectly good bands would have told me they couldn't get something together that quickly and either asked for a postponement or told me to shove it up my arse. I suspect it's not just their politeness that stopped Emily & The Faves from taking this course. Rather, as with the aforementioned gig, they rose to the challenge as only the most skilled and durable bands do.

But then Emily & The Faves are a highly skilled, innovative and, hopefully, durable band, as you'll find out for yourself when you hear the session. Then I'd recommend you do yourself a considerable favour and add a copy of their album to your collection.

Five Years Volume Two, Track 17 - Jay Stansfield

Jay Stansfield - Happy Birthday Dandelion

Burnley-born artist who was brought to our attention by Greg Healey, who featured Jay in session in November 2010. Since then, he's gone on to sign a deal with White Label Music, with whom he released the single 'Express Yourself' at the end of March, and looks set to delight us for many years to come.

'Happy Birthday Dandelion' was, as its title suggests, specially recorded for this compilation and seemed an appropriate way to finish off the second volume, and the whole Five Years compilation. In it, Jay pays appropriate tribute to Peel's memory while saying some very nice things out Dandelion. No one could have summed up the spirit of this collection better.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 16 - Dementio13

Dementio13 - Quixote

From Cardiff, Paul Foster conjurs up fascinatingly individual soundscapes as both Dementio13 and, with Australian vocalist Pixieguts, Cwtch.

Dementio13's works are characterised by a rhythmic intensity that can veer quickly from krautrock-inflected drones to classic electronica and dark atmospherics in a fascinatingly varied back catalogue of albums and EPs.

Dementio13's debut Dandelion session came courtesy of Greg Healey's show in October 2010. 'Quixote' was recorded exclusively for this compilation.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 15 - Slideshow Freak

Slideshow Freak - Retrospensive Thinking

Ex-pat Englishman Jamie Wright now resides in Florida and makes arch musical creations under the moniker Slideshow Freak.

Slideshow Freak originally appeared on Dandelion as part of a feature on the Filthy Little Angels label in Mark Whitby's show in December 2008. Since then, Mark has become a champion of his work and featured Slideshow Freak in session in February 2010. He has also received acclaim from Huw Stephens and Steve Lamacq.

'Retrospensive Thinking' appears on his current album 'You Are A Monster But So Am I', released via Unwashed Territories.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Five Years, Volume Two, Track 14 - Martin Carr

Martin Carr - No Money In My Pocket

Martin Carr rose to fame as leader of Merseyside's The Boo Radleys who made three Peel sessions in 1990 and 1991 and appeared in four successive festive fifties from 1990-1993. Later they signed to the Creation label and achieved significant critical and commercial success with the 'Giant Steps' and 'Wake Up!' albums.

The band broke up in 1998 and Carr began working solo, first as Bravecaptain and eventually under his own name. He recorded a session for Andy Morrison's show in October 2009 as part of Dandelion's 'Peel Legends' month to commemorate the fifth anniversary of John Peel's death.

'No Money In My Pocket' is one of a number of recordings Martin is working on for his new album, and is currently unavailable elsewhere.

Five Years Volume Two, Track 13 - HealeyIsland

HealeyIsland - Secrecy Is A Matter Of Opinion

Project of Cornwall-based recording artist Greg Healey, who's been fashioning his unique electronica over many years and under different aliases before settling on this project in 2004.

A prolific series of releases followed, fuelled by a variety of influences such as jazz and krautrock as well as electronic artists like Kraftwerk and Aphex Twin.

Greg has been presenting his own show on Dandelion Radio since December 2009. 'Secrecy Is A Matter Of Opinion' is a fine example of his HealeyIsland work.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 12 - Magoo

Magoo - Call Out The Crash Squad (Dandelion Radio session)

Fuelled by a love of bands like Pavement and Stereolab, Magoo, from Norwich, arrived in 1992 and recorded seven John Peel sessions between 1996 and 2004. They also released recorded on Chemikal Undeground in the days when it was just about the best label in the world.

They continue to record and release fantastic music such as their new album 'The Continuing Adventures Of Magoo'. 'Call Out The Crash Squad' appeared in the session recorded for the Mark Cunliffe show in October 2009 as part of Dandelion's 'Peel Legends' month.

Five Years Volume Two, Track 11 - The Horn The Hunt

The Horn The Hunt - I Missed The Catastrophe (Dandelion Radio Session)

Clare Carter and Joseph Osborne's self-titled debut collected together a range of recordings put together across Europe over a period of time, eventually released via White Label Music in 2010.

The album became a firm favourite with several Dandelion DJs and led to sessions for both Andy Morrison and Greg Healey during the year. This was followed by an appearance for the single 'Raptor' in the Festive Fifty.

The band have since released their second album, 'Depressur Jolie', also on White Label Music. 'I Missed The Catastrophe' originally featured in the Andy Morrison session of May 2010.

Five Years Volume Two, Track 10 - Hehfu

Hehfu - Plenty Of Fish (Dandelion Radio Session)

Originally known simply as Heh, Brad Clarke's Hehfu, from Caerphily in Wales, has been responsible for some of the most magical indie pop to come out of the northern hemisphere over the last few years.

Championed by BBC Radio Wales' Adam Walton as well as a whole bunch of Dandelion DJs, Hehfu has released a string of EPs and also appeared in session in Mark Whitby's show in January this year. 'Plenty Of Fish', included her at Mark's request, was a particular highlight. You can download a whole bunch of Hehfu material from his bandcamp site.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 9 - Vert:x

Vert:x - Photon Sphere

Based in Neston, south of the Mersey, Vert:x make drone-fuelled scorching epics that resonate with psychedelic, space rock and krautrock influences, as found on their self-released 'a.f.m.o.m.a.h.e.' (2007) and 'Ggantija' (2009) albums.

The music of Vert:x has since found a very welcome home in both Mark Whitby and Pete Jackson's shows, and they appeared in session on Mark's show in November 2010, since released via Unwashed Territories as the 'u.t. transmission' EP.

This year, Vert:x have also covered Julian Cope on the Fruits De Mer label's 'Roqueting Through Space' compilation and have another release due on the label later in the year. 'Photon Sphere' has been specially recorded for this collection.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 8 - Alisia Casper

Alisia Casper - Digdog

Yorkshire-based musician and artist Alisia Casper makes quirky, sometimes oddly melodic tunes that she delivers with a tremulous, often fragile voice.

Despite this, the songs themselves have a curious strength, offering glimpses of the world from strange perspectives, like images through an off-kilter telescope. Along with many self-released recordings, Alisia's work has appeared on the split EP 'The Bookshelf EP' with Wolfram Wire on Drahtwald Records and a self-titled EP on Sea Records.

'Digdog' was recorded specially for this compilation. Alisia also designed the album's artwork for us and we also present a selection of her visual work as bonus items in this collection.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 7 - Spidersleg

Spidersleg - Swine Wave (Dandelion Radio Session)

Colleague of Lord Numb and equally at home with a microphone, guitar, keyboard or computer, several Dandelion DJs have warmed to the very unique appeal of Spidersleg and he's appeared in session on both Andy Morrison and Mark Whitby's shows.

Spidersleg also makes music under the alias of Edgars Lisp and, with Numb, as The Reject Club. He can be intricate and playful in pretty much equal measures and one of the tracks from his Mark Whitby session was selected for Dandelion Radio's 'Broadcast One' release on Odd Box Records.

'Swine Wave' is another track from that session. Spidersleg appeared recently again, both alone and in combination with Lord Numb, with a whole bunch of great new and exclusive tracks for Andy's show, and you can hear more exclusive Spidersleg tunes in his second session for Mark's show, which goes out this month.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two Track 6 - The Pocket Gods

The Pocket Gods - Perfect Blue

Discovered by John Peel in 2005, The Pocket Gods create rampant indie pop melodies fuelled by science fiction dreams and other people's nightmares.

Based in St Albans, they've released magical albums like 'Lo Fi Sci fi' and 'Nub Country, Beyond The Fridge' on their own Nub Country label and three bedroom-recorded sessions for the Mark Whitby show, as well as contributions to Rachael Neiman's Cherryade label Xmas compilations. They've also appeared in session in Tom Robinson's 6music show.

'Lo Fi Sci fi' was hailed by our own Mark Whitby as one of the finest albums to appear during Dandelion's lifetime. 'Perfect Blue' is from their '...Beyond The Fridge' collection and remains one of their most perfectly conceived tunes.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two Track 5 - Mind's Eye Dub

Mind's Eye Dub - Back To My Dub (Manwel T Mix 2)

Malta's Manwel Tabone runs the excellent Dubkey net label, featuring original roots reggae and dub compositions from a variety of 'house' artists.

Also from Malta, Mind's Eye Dub, aka David Magro, has been making Mediterranean-flavoured dub music since 1988, first as a member of the Mind's Eye reggae band and more recently recording under his current name in his own studio.

'Back To My Dub' is one of many collaborations between the two artists, all available, along with many other great tunes, for free via the Dubkey label.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 4 - Warm Widow

Warm Widow - Scruff Of His Neck (Dandelion Radio Session)

Warm Widow offer that peculiarly Mancunian mix of spiky yet tuneful melodies wrapped up in one part laconic humour, one part joyful aggression and five parts 'we'll do what the bloody hell we like.'

Their well-received album 'Widower' was released last year and drew comparisons with the likes of fellow East Lancastrians The Fall and Dub Sex.

Warm Widow's debut Dandelion Radio session appeared in Jeff Grainger's show in May this year, and included this track.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two Track 3 - Darren Hayman

Darren Hayman - Loose Change (Composed by Valentine Leys)

Hefner's 'The Fidelity Wars' and 'I Love The City' were highlights of the cusp of the millennium Peel shows, and the two albums dominated the festive fifty in a way few have since.

It says much of their lead singer and songwriter Darren Hayman that Hefner were merely the beginning of a fascinating career with far too many highlights to mention here. This track is a collaboration with Valentine Leys, who sang 'No Different Girls' during Darren's recent 'January Songs' project. In return, Valentine suggested Darren sing one of her songs, called 'Loose Change'. Darren duly obliged, and he and Valentine have kindly allowed us to feature the song in this compilation. The kind of project of which Peel would have very much approved, we think.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two Track 2 - Block 45

Block 45 - Wires (Dandelion Radio Session)

An Australian based in Japan, Block 45 is named after a Tokyo ghetto snack bar and his eponymous album appeared on Sean Hocking's Metal Postcard label at the beginning of 2010.

Block 45 appeared in session on Andy Morrison's show in July 2009 and the extraordinary 'Wires', which features here, appeared in their second session for the show exactly a year later.

Block 45's second album is due for release on Metal Postcard later this year.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Five Years Volume Two, Track 1 - Beatnik Filmstars

Beatnik Filmstars - Rats (Dandelion Radio Session)

Formed in 1991, Beatnik Filmstars released a string of great albums and recorded five sessions for the John Peel show between 1995 and 1998.

The band split up in 1998, but re-formed in 2005 and became regulars in the Dandelion Radio festive fifty, placing three tracks in the top eight of the 2007 chart, the first band to achieve this since Pulp in 1995. Sadly, they called it a day again in 2010.

'Rats' is a version of a track that appeared on their excellent 2008 album 'The Purple Fez 72 Club Social'. This version was recorded in session for Rocker's show and broadcast in 2009.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Five Years Volume One, Track 17 - Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones

Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones - Hairy Monsters (Dandelion Radio Session)

Dalmatian Rex and the Eigentones parade a body of work rooted in the idiosyncratic and sometimes surreal humorous tradition of Viv Stanshall and Ivor Cutler in a series of fascinating releases going back to 1999.

In early 2008 Mark Whitby began playing them and featured the band in session in April of that year. A Jeff Grainger session followed in November.

Their unique humour continues to delight in their recent 'Gnulabradoodle du' album. 'Hairy Monsters', one of their less surreal efforts, is the Mark Whitby session version of a track from their 'Psychedelic Monsters.

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Five Years Volume One, Track 16 - Extradition Order

Extradition Order - A Shot

The excellent I Blame The Parents was formed when founder Martin Brimicombe saw Extradition Order in Shoreditch and realised he had to set up a label in order to release something by them.

On that occasion, the singer played a guitar made from a castol can and the bassist wore a gas mask. Naturalised Londers hailing originally from Warrington, Extradition Order use guitars, drums and keyboards to serve up grim post-industrial philosophy, wit and the occasional murder ballad.

IBTP released their debut album 'Since The Bomb Dropped' in 2009 and their follow-up is due later this year. 'A Shot' was recorded specially for this compilation.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Five Years Volume One Track 15 - 2 Hot 2 Sweat

2 Hot 2 Sweat - Rude Dog

This duo of Norwich origin, consisting of Matt Leuw and Mia Lane, took their unique brand of spiky indie pop to the John Peel night of the BBC Electric Proms in October 2008, having made their Dandelion Radio session debut in Mark Whitby's show exactly a year earlier.

Mark also selected the duo as number one in his annual 'Listen To Me' top ten of new bands that year. 2 Hot 2 Sweat went on to release a string of excellent singles with the NR One imprint.

They continue to make faultlessly quirky and tuneful vignettes and the self-released 'Rude Dog', a fine example of what they do so well, came out earlier this year.