24 March 2007

Michael J Sheehy

Michael J Sheehy - Ghost On The Motorway (2007 - Red Eye Music)

Sheehy started his music life as the front man to criminally underlooked sleaze rock band Dream City Film Club (named by an Soho adult movie house which burned down, killing the assumedly engorged patrons inside). The ending of that band was a bitter affair; I know this because I was (un)fortunate enough to see him play live on the exact day the band broke up, being greeted by the words "The band broke up today so it's just me. I'm not bitter or anything."

Since their departure from this aural coil, Sheehy has struggled against unfame and the less than forthcoming generosity of various record labels to make a number of solo albums that are consistently great.

His music would not sound out of place at The Roadhouse in David Lynch's 'Twin Peaks' or any number of backwater saloon bars where men rest their Stetsons on the jukebox to quaff copious amounts of whiskey and ogle at the grainy animal porn playing on the faux-wood-finished TV in the corner, which is odd considering his Anglo origins. But don't let a lack of authenticity dissuade you, his fa├žade is good enough to get a song played on 'Deadwood'.

His latest release has lost some urgency and replaced it with a greater focus of americana style, withdrawing wholeheartedly from his post-punk leanings in previous albums and drawing even more influence from bluegrass and country, running alongside his ever eloquent tales of depravity, melancholy and religious betrayal, reminiscent of 'boatman'-era Nick Cave in both lyrical content and competency of arrangement, albeit with a smoother, more seductive aesthetic, particularly in Sheehy's breathy, almost slutty vocals. But despite a slightly more happy-go-lucky approach here, here's also a few touches of an angrier The The influence in a few songs, like this scuzzy little number:

Michael J Sheehy - Crawling Back To Church (mp3)

14 March 2007

Doo Rag

One of the most bizarre Peel Sessions I ever heard was by Doo Rag, from Arizona. An unholy blues-derived racket featuring little in the way of melody, rhythm or even blues.

Doo Rag were a stunning apocalyptic-blues duo comprising the magnificently named Bob Log III on guitar and vocals (sung through a film projector), and Thermos Malling on percussion (usually pots, pans, boxes etc.) Their Peel Session was apparently recorded over the telephone. They toured with a mobile pirate radio station which led to a prosecution in Germany for broadcasting their gig over the frequency of the leading German radio station.

Rectifier is an astounding example of their art. Taken from their Peel Session, this is a loud blues stomp, that almost enters a trance like state with the occasional guitar lick or percussive glitch. Most of their songs were shorter, but this is their anthem.

Bob Log III now performs solo, playing guitar, drums and singing into a telephone handset welded into a motorcycle helmet. His songs are all about playing guitar and drinking whisky. Oh, and tits.

01 March 2007

Sophe Lux

Sophe Lux are a sort of sonambulist's soundtrack, the kind of music you listen to whilst sleepwalking through a field towards the cliffs of Dover. Ah but Gloucester, wait, that's not Dover, 'tis merely a small hollow in the fields. Which is good because after your conniving children have poked your eyes out - the last thing you really want is to walk off the real Cliffs of Dover, especially as the King has gone right off it. Come back Cordelia, all is forgiven - but alas...

So what is the ideal soundtrack to nocturnal freakish shakespearean self-loathing - tinged by pre-war Cabaret kitsch?

I don't know either - sometimes your music collection just doesn't have a track that says I'm tired of the Cabaret Life I want to contemplate Nietsche, Shakespeare and the endless cycle of life, sex, death and rebirth.

Hailing from Portland, Oregon. Sophe Lux are a band who have just released their second album, Waking the Mystics on Zarathustra Records.

I've been trying to guage how successful the band is and how successful they are likely to be... the omens are mixed. One the plus side some famous people have been involved in the making of this album - (Decemberists engineers and Green Day producers - that sort of thing) on the other hand the record label's website has been suspended for non-payment. On one hand BBC says, "There are no results for "sophe lux" on the BBC website." whilst myspace says over 40,000 friends - It's hard to say. What is easy to say though is that the music is fantastic.

More tracks available on www.myspace.com/sophelux