To start things off, there’s a few exceptional records out this month… While anyone with half an interest in electronic music is all in tizzy about Warp’s announcement of a new Boards of Canada record, the same label is sneaking out an album that’s guaranteed to give BoC a decent run for their money. Bibio‘s third album – Silver Wilkinson – is as pure and lovely as the first days of spring, a proper musical shot in the arm. Partly recorded outside in Bibio (aka Stephen Wilkinson)’s garden, it’s a fleet footed electronic soul record that’s utterly addictive in its melancholy. The fact that Wilkinson chose the name of a fly pattern for his musical alter-ego only ups its chance of being one of Caught by the River’s records of the year.
Ghost Box continue their journey into the heart of a weird, half-remembered Britain with the new release from label co-founder Julian House’s band, the Focus Group. Elektrik Karousel is nothing less than a proper trip. Its twenty nine tracks could each have been lifted from a European kids TV programme from the early ’70s, combined they make up a weirdly discomfiting collection that pushes buttons left untouched since childhood. Proper, mindbending psychedelia.
The Memory Band have been a part of the Caught by the River extended family for a long while now – they’ve played magical festival gigs and cosy sessions in pub back rooms with us and always, always floor us. Their new LP, On The Chalk (Our Navigation of the Line Of The Downs) is absolutely beautiful, taking the listener on a sublime and visionary musical journey along the South Downs Way (without ever needing to leave the living room). The spring, in a record.
Aside from records, a few other bits that worth checking out…
Tweet of the Day: Discover British birds through their songs and calls. Each Tweet of the Day begins with a call or song, followed by a story of fascinating ornithology inspired by the sound. Brought to Radio 4 by Sara Blunt and the BBC Natural History Unit.
Reader Pete Thompson pointed us in the direction of this Radio 4 series, Thames Crossings, where author and broadcaster Piers Plowright retraces key points in life along the dirty old river. Previous episodes all on the iPlayer at the moment.
Rose Lennard thought that the information in this article by George Monbiot needed to be more widely known. We wholeheartedly agree with Rose.
James McNaught suggested we read Lawrence Lek on the Thames in 3D published on The Junket site.
Andy Pattenden flagged up the Estuary exhibition, which starts at the Museum of London Docklands on 17 May, which we’ll be giving further coverage to over the coming weeks.
And finally, we have people to thank. Last week’s Social Club at the Queen’s Head was another great night of top entertainment and curveball enlightenment. Thanks to John Andrews and Charles Rangeley-Wilson, to Neil Thomson, and to poet-in-residence Will Burns, each of whom brought something unique and fascinating to the upstairs room of our favourite central London boozer. Thanks also to Alison McAlpine, whose film Second Sight – a fantastic, warm-hearted document of ghost tales of Skye, told by the islands last Gallic speakers – was screened to gasps (the photography), laughs, and ultimately tears, as the end credits paid tribute to the memory of pretty much the entire cast of characters.
In the crowd (audience?) that night were a couple of faces from London’s jazz / club scene, a certain Mr Ross Allen (who graced the pages of Caught by the River sometime back when he wrote the obituary of singer/ songwriter Larry Jon Wilson) and his pal Paul Bradshaw, who it was a pleasure to meet having been an avid reader of his now defunct-magazine, Straight No Chaser. Thanks to Paul and Ross for taking the time to big the night up on their blogs – read Paul’s here.
That was the last one at the Queen’s until the Autumn but we shan’t be taking time out. Next up you’ll find us at the Field Day festival in London’s Victoria Park on Saturday 25 May followed, on 4 June, by an evening of music and Sebaldery with Brownswood Recordings’ artist, William Adamson and DJ Andrew Weatherall. This one takes place at The Social, 5 Little Portland Street, London W1. Reduced price advance tickets can be bought here.