Essential New Music: Dr. Dog’s “Psychedelic Swamp”

DrDog

It’s easy to forget that Dr. Dog used to be a seriously weird band. Most of its recent existence has been spent evolving into rock ‘n’ roll road warriors of the My Morning Jacket variety: touring relentlessly, playing to bigger and bigger audiences, and releasing infectious record after infectious record. The focus on crowd-pleasing pop began in earnest with its fourth proper LP, 2008’s Fate, and since then, there’s been relatively little looking back.

But if you turn to its beginnings in the tripped-out basements of West Philly circa 1999, you’ll find a very different Dr. Dog. One that preferred beat-up banjos and rickety acoustics to cranked Orange amps; one that didn’t need drums in the front of the mix (or in the mix at all, even); one that harnessed the sound of warbling, hissing tapes and crushing distortion to lend its music a singular vibe. It was a band that took aesthetic cues from the post-Barlow eight-tracking ’90s and applied them fearlessly to the dense, psychedelic rock its members were reared on.

2002 collection Toothbrush is typically the Dr. Dog album embraced by people who don’t like Dr. Dog—likely because it predates the band’s flirtation with ideas of pop and accessibility, and was purely music for music’s sake. Even more coveted in those circles is the 2001 Psychedelic Swamp EP, a long out-of-print cassette filled with chopped-up audio collages and foggy textures where song ideas only occasionally and fleetingly surfaced.

Last fall, the band revisited that early record in a stage show collaboration with Philly troupe Pig Iron Theatre. In it, the music was “translated” from the (marginally listenable) bleep-bloop fuzz of the original into song-songs. As a result, the new/old Psychedelic Swamp LP of today fuses the best of both worlds.

Dr. Dog the refined pop tunesmiths exhume the snappy “Dead Record Player” and the burning soul of “Bring My Baby Back” from the fray, making for two of the band’s best-ever recordings. But Dr. Dog the hallucinogenic soundscapers brings its older/wiser self deep down the rabbit hole on textural guitar expanse “Holes In My Back,” sounding more adventurous than the band has in years.

—John Vettese

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From The Desk Of The High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan: Something New

It might seem unusual, at first: British folk/pop auteur Sean O’Hagan padding Here Come The Rattling Trees—his latest outing as bandleader of the High Llamas—with several breezy musical snippets that work as either introductions or codas to delicate, fully realized songs. But in fact, the project first coalesced as a narrative the singer scripted about his South London neighborhood of Peckham, where a local working-class recreation center was being threatened by snooty gentrification. But it quickly morphed into a full-scale production that he staged at a Covent Garden theater—hence the inclusion of rising and descending motifs. O’Hagan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new High Llamas feature.

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O’Hagan: I have noticed something new in the evolution of music for commercials, or ads as we call them in the U.K. TV ads have always been a place to divide opinion, politicly (“my music’s not for sale”), taste (“this cut is lazy, so predictable”…”no, this is perfect”) anger “how could they—that song’s a classic”) and so on. Here in England, we have just been through the flood of under-achieving, folky, hum-dum tracks, some commissioned, some placed. Lots of singing in the vernacular accompanied by a sole ukulele, faltering to an unconfident fizzle which just gets you with its charm. It’s sunny, it’s relatively inexpensive, and its not alpha. Usually used by digital-loan companies or dig-holiday firms or startup banks.

The new thing is using classic ’70s tracks that are a bit obscure. It’s the Stones, no its not—it’s close but not. It’s Earth Wind and Fire … No, it’s the Ohio Players … It’s the Zombies, or is it Montage? Crosby, Stills, Nash And Young … No it’s America. So the chaps who move this all along, the sync chaps, are a well-courted group of gentlemen and ladies. I wonder how this new ’70s consensus came about. Do they all go on holiday together, or are there conferences or away days. I’m pretty sure there must be. Why did they buzz around the folky uke thing for so long. It was unavoidable for four or five years. Though not as lucrative as it was, TV music still commands a buy-out fee, no more repeat fees. But I wonder are these not-so-classic classics copyright free? Or negotiated to affordability? Who knows?

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A Conversation With John Cale

JohnCale

If John Cale’s new album M:FANS sounds hauntingly familiar, you are both correct and obviously a Cale aficionado. The legendary Velvet Underground viola player and composer—with a solo career that’s lasted since 1970—recorded 1982’s Music For A New Society at an ebb in his personal life (read What’s Welsh For Zen: The Autobiography Of John Cale to see how bad). That hard druggy existence spilled over to the scarred, blood-lustful characters who roam sad songs such as “Chinese Envoy” for a most chilling effect—that’s saying something considering vicious Cale albums such as Fear and Slow Dazzle. Healed, but restless, Cale ducked backward in 2015 to move forward with both a remastered reissue of the old Society and 2016’s reimagined new version that borrows the bad feelings without wallowing in them.

Not to start on a bummer note, but when I first heard about the Paris tragedy at the Bataclan in November, I thought of you, Nico, Lou and your show there in 1972. You guys put the club on the map. Do you have any recollection of the space or the spirit of the night?
It was a very tender night—lots of walking on eggshells because we hadn’t worked together since I left the band. I thought it was an interesting idea, though. Lou didn’t really want to do anything with me. I was there with Nico, helping her—it all just happened. It was fine. Serendipitous. All made sense somehow. That said, that didn’t loom large in my legend then—reuniting with Lou—but I guess in a way it needed to happen, just to see where things stood. That said, I didn’t want to be reminded of it by what happened in Paris.

There are two recently released boxed sets out—Loaded and The Complete Matrix Tapes—neither featuring your Velvets. Did you have much of a chance then to consider what VU sounded like without you?
I had my own issues to deal with at the time that were pressing. I knew they were there, but I can’t say that I focused on them. I devoted so much time to the Velvets—it was my job—and all of a sudden, I had this opportunity to stretch my imagination on my own and become a producer, which I wanted to be, as well as do my solo stuff. So, when all that went down with the band, it was easier for me to just wipe the slate clean and get on with things, with my work. That was the first thing on my mind, not the Velvets.

Dozens of solo albums behind you—how did you wind up picking Music For A New Society to re-release and re-record?
The longer an album of mine is around, the more people would ask me to do stuff from it live, which I’d been doing already with songs such as “Taking Your Life In Your Hands” and “I Keep A Close Watch.” Promoters in Europe, however, love those single-album shows that I performed for the likes of Fear, Paris 1919 and eventually Music For A New Society. I got to dress the songs up differently—its arrangements and, suddenly, its songs made new sense. I wanted to hear them again—and some I did not, since that time was stressful enough. I digitized reel-to-reels and found things I never finished, and began thinking of new versions that would take the strengths and frustrations of the old album and put them in a contemporary context.

Going back to a bad moment couldn’t have been fun.
Yeah, well, I wanted something that wasn’t quite as exposed and raw as Music, but still had that emotion. So, I dressed them in different clothing.

New clothing that resembles, in part, what you did with your most recent album—2012’s Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood—and its collage electronica. Was that difficult at all, as Music For A New Society was future-forward-sounding, but much sparser?
Some is just readdressing the lyrics. Others have ideas that I wanted to use to make existing songs grow. I took a lot of what was there in the first place—accepted it—but drove it further.

Whether you knew some of the people or not that populate M:FANS and Society, they’re a grotty lot. Does each character have or get redemption in the end? Is that a reason behind M:FANS?
I don’t want to leave any character hanging in mid-air, even though there is usefulness in that. The redemption comes from the character, what he is telling you about himself.

Where was your head in 1981 and ’82 that resulted in the original?
It was not in a good place. The personal side of things? There was a lot of grinding going on. You can see those attitudes in spades within the original. I knew that I had to get out of where I was, away from the people that were around then. You hear that in “Taking Your Life In Your Hands.” I was thinking of those old songs when Lou passed, you know. That threw in a spanner into the works, but it also helped me rediscover a moment. “If You Were Still Around,” for instance—written then—had all the elements that any tribute that I’d pay to Lou would have.

I wasn’t going to ask about Reed, but you brought him up. Why do you think—considering the original amount of time you spent together and how long ago that was—you’re still so tied to each other?
Whatever the work was—that was the driving force. That was why I came to New York City and America in the first place: to collaborate, to work with someone. There was the work with (early avant-garde composer) La Monte Young, obviously, but then in the middle of that, I realized what I was missing was my teenage years. The Beatles arrived, so it was in my face. All of a sudden, I meet Lou and I’m thinking, “Here’s somebody who can improvise.” From there, I wondered how could we stick within the realm of the avant-garde and have it thrive there in some new ferocious way. In the ’60s, we were graduating, coming out of where we were into what was next and pushing something new.

You still have that as your principal guiding force.
Yes, I’m still that guy thinking what is next. Once you’ve done something like the VU—well, we knew that it was going to bother people, that the audience would have to face it wherever they may go.

—A.D. Amorosi

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From The Desk Of The High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan: Cabane Music

It might seem unusual, at first: British folk/pop auteur Sean O’Hagan padding Here Come The Rattling Trees—his latest outing as bandleader of the High Llamas—with several breezy musical snippets that work as either introductions or codas to delicate, fully realized songs. But in fact, the project first coalesced as a narrative the singer scripted about his South London neighborhood of Peckham, where a local working-class recreation center was being threatened by snooty gentrification. But it quickly morphed into a full-scale production that he staged at a Covent Garden theater—hence the inclusion of rising and descending motifs. O’Hagan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new High Llamas feature.

ThomasVanCottom

O’Hagan: I first met Thomas Van Cottom maybe nine years ago. He had an enigmatic and wonderfully unique band with Aurélie Muller called Soy Un Caballo. The couple from Bruxelles worked with a small close circle of musicians from the city to create a European song form which danced between Françoise Hardy and an American highway. I was asked along with my old friend Charlie Francis to help produce their debut and, as it turned out, only record. Thomas’ idiosyncratic open-tuned writing and Aurélie’s sublime voice and bass playing combined to create something timeless.

Eight years on, Thomas and I teamed up again. After a break from music, Thomas came back with a manifesto of creativity. Thomas calls it Cabane music. Cabane is a collaboration of six or seven musicians from Belgium, England and the U.S. Thomas writes the songs, which require only two instruments plus strings and voices. So far, Bonnie Prince Billy, Kate Stables (This Is The Kit), Caroline Gabard (Boy And The Echo Choir) and I have joined Thomas on this venture. Cabane is music, photography, film making and seeks to draw on other creative activity on future projects. When I asked Thomas what he was trying to achieve with Cabane, he said he wanted to bring people together, almost beyond the structure of industry, more as a social experiment in creating new work.

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Film At 11: “What’s Up Matador”

Matador Records just launched a new interactive website, This Day In Matador History. The label also just posted the awesome 1997 video What’s Up Matador online. Check it out below.

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Are You From New York?

Woody

An essay by MAGNET’s Mitch Myers

Long ago, as a young man born and raised in Chicago, I eagerly explored these United States of America. I first sought out familiar locales like Manhattan, Seattle and Los Angeles and encountered many different people in my travels. Sometimes, like when I visited L.A. in the 1980s, someone would inquire as to the nature of my hometown roots. Occasionally, they’d ask a more specific question, that is, “Are you from New York?”

Being somewhat naïve, I thought they were asking this because I radiated some kind of hip quotient, an arty, urban and intellectual coolness—like, what else could it be? Complimented, I’d dutifully explain that no, I was from the Midwest, a Chicago kid— imagining my big city ways had caused them to mistake my place of origin.

As time went on, I was compelled to widen my perception. After visiting Austin several times, I encountered this same question from fresh acquaintances—that is, “Are you from New York?” I began to assume that the query wasn’t based on my cool factor, but more likely a variation on the old familiar phrase, “You’re not from around here, are you?” That would be a fair observation. I sure as heck wasn’t from Texas, and perhaps it was simply my urban persuasion that led them to wonder if I might be from New York. Maybe these people just hadn’t been exposed to the difference between a Midwestern and Northeastern accent.

When I mentioned this to my mother years ago, she replied that she had often been asked this very same question and always chalked it up to her prevailing fashion sense, which was a tendency to always wear black. This seemed to satisfy her sense of self, and how others might perceive her. Ultimately, over time, I began to realize the true nature of this line of questioning. In that, I determined by virtue of research, deep thought and soul searching, that the exact and literal translation of “Are you from New York?” was, and is, for me, most precisely, “I notice that you’re Jewish.”

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying that any of these folks were necessarily anti-Semitic in their profiling, they wanted (or needed) to affirm their appraisal for reasons good, bad or indifferent. This reminds me of Lenny Bruce’s classic routine where he explains the difference between being Jewish vs. goyish. Among other things, Lenny said, “Dig … if you live in New York or any other big city, you are Jewish. It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, if you live in New York you are Jewish. If you live in Butte, Mont., you are going to be goyish even if you are Jewish.”

I have to say that I can’t recall ever being asked this question, “Are you from New York?” when in New York or meeting a New York native. For some reason, no New Yorker ever felt the need to ascertain my New York-ness, or whatever you want to call it.

Also, in all the time living in my hometown, no one in Chicago had ever asked me if I was from New York. Not ever. That is, not until last summer. It finally happened in downtown Chicago over the July 4th weekend on the way to see the Grateful Dead with my pal Shirley and her husband Thom.

One thing you should know about Shirley is that she’s Israeli-born, but raised in the USA. She and I have a close friendship and we’ve been together all across the world. Over the years, we’ve hung out in Israel, Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Austin and New York, as well as Chicago.

To illustrate our rapport, I’d have to recall the time we were in Austin for the South By Southwest Music Conference and spent a good 20 minutes at a Mexican restaurant arguing whether we should leave a tip of 17.5% like her father always did, or, as I insisted, just round it up to 20%. Several minutes of that discussion included a debate over whether the sales tax should be included in our metrics.

I also have to say that while all this was going on, our dear friend Michael, who is not from New York, was there, too—sinking further and further under the table from sheer embarrassment at the scene of us hotly debating the respective merits of a tip differential like an episode straight out of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Anyway, that about sums up Shirley and me. So, like I was saying, Shirley, Thom and I were downtown, headed to the Dead concert at Soldier Field for the third time in three consecutive nights. We’d just left their hotel on Michigan Avenue when I suggested that we take a cab rather than walk since we’d been hanging out late every night and schlepping back and forth to all of the shows.

Shirley and Thom agreed, and as luck would have it, a taxi had just pulled up. We jumped in, asked the driver to take us to Soldier Field and voila—we were off.

Now, the first thing the cabdriver asked us was, “Are you guys from New York?” Shirley and I looked at each other because we’d spoken many times of my revelation as to the meaning of this seemingly innocuous question. We smiled knowingly and almost laughed. We could have been tourists from anywhere, hailing a cab in front of a downtown hotel on a holiday weekend.

In an effort to be clever and play out the scenario to its fullest, I answered, “Oh yeah, we’re from New York all right.” Everything seemed well and good and we were chatting amiably when the cabbie directed another question my way. He wanted to know, “Are you a lawyer?” This struck me as a bit more stereotyping than I was used to, but I was still trying to be funny and just said no, I wasn’t a lawyer but I could have been. Shirley didn’t say much about that one and Thom was pretty much silent.

The cab driver responded by sharing something about his own life—that he was close to getting his degree in hospitality management and soon would be quitting his job as a cabdriver. The cabbie also told us that he was Palestinian. In an effort to relate to the man, I told him that my brother lived in Jerusalem. In response, the cabbie exclaimed, “He probably lives in my grandfather’s house!” As you might imagine, nobody in the cab was laughing.

The cabbie then turned his attention to Shirley and things got weird. It wasn’t any more of this “Are you from New York” nonsense. He just asked her bluntly, “Are you Jewish, too?” “Ummm, yeah” she replied, unsure as to the appropriateness of his question but not wanting to offend.

Finally the cabbie focused on Thom, who was sitting between Shirley and myself. “How about you? Are you Jewish, too?” he asked. Thom, who is definitely not from New York, answered the question in no uncertain terms. He said something to the effect of, “I’m not going to answer that question and I don’t like where this conversation is heading at all! And I’ll tell you something else, if you’re going into the hospitality business maybe you should learn not to ask someone about their religion within five minutes of meeting them!”

It was only then that I realized Thom had been horrified as to the nature of our discourse. He wasn’t going to object if I made an ass out of myself, but he was feeling very protective of his wife. He was angry, and he wasn’t having it. Thom’s a pretty big guy and hails from New England. He isn’t a violent person, but he does have a temper and wasn’t backing down from a confrontation with this cab driver.

Things got tense. The cabbie kept eyeballing Thom in his rear view mirror and Thom was staring right back at him as Shirley and I tried to diffuse the situation until we could get out of the cab. I should mention that we were heading south on Lake Shore Drive and there was no way of stopping until we arrived at Soldier Field.

The whole trip couldn’t have taken more than 15 minutes and we reached our destination without further incident. We got out quick, paid the fare plus tip (decidedly less than 17.5%) and tried to put the whole affair behind us.

But I haven’t forgotten what happened. It’s clear to me now that some people encounter profiling all of the time and just do their best to ignore the implications so they can get through their day with the least amount of hassle.

Anyway, I’m not trying to preach or complain. I just wanted to tell my story. I also have to admit that the next time somebody asks me if I’m from New York, I really don’t know what I’m going to say. Would you?

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From The Desk Of The High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan: The TV Writers

It might seem unusual, at first: British folk/pop auteur Sean O’Hagan padding Here Come The Rattling Trees—his latest outing as bandleader of the High Llamas—with several breezy musical snippets that work as either introductions or codas to delicate, fully realized songs. But in fact, the project first coalesced as a narrative the singer scripted about his South London neighborhood of Peckham, where a local working-class recreation center was being threatened by snooty gentrification. But it quickly morphed into a full-scale production that he staged at a Covent Garden theater—hence the inclusion of rising and descending motifs. O’Hagan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new High Llamas feature.

EdwinAstley

O’Hagan: In post-war Britain, there were a number of composers who emerged from their rolls as conscripted musicians to become ’50s big-band leaders and later TV music writers. Among them was Edwin Astley. Though his name is relatively unknown, Astley’s tunes are embedded in the memories of millions as he wrote the themes to a host of iconic ’60s TV shows including The Saint, Danger Man, Department S, Randall And Hopkirk (Deceased) and many more. He worked mainly for ITC a company set up to provide programs for ITV, the independent channel set up to compete with the BBC.

What was remarkable about Astley and other composers who followed the same career path was their willingness to embrace experimentation in sound and composition. These chaps had been playing swing during the war and arranging for radio orchestras, and suddenly with the explosion of independent TV, they were tasked with creating new music, brave music, which was piped straight into the homes and consciousness of an audience who could not get enough. Household television arrived in the U.K. much later than it did in the U.S. Amazingly, there was so much ambition within the TV executives. Everything had to be new and challenging. There was no appetite for caution. What is striking was the composers commitment to electronic music and tape manipulation. This had been the preserve of academia and the electronic modernist/concrete composers. Astley and his contemporaries, Basil Kirchin, Barry Gray, John Baker, Delia Derbyshire and Laurie Johnson were able to write tonal and non-tonal composition as well as create sound design (not a known concept in the ’60s).

Astley’s work on The Saint, especially his cue list, was extraordinary. He managed to reflect the tonal modernist chamber string writing of Arnold Bax and Britten but also respond to the zeitgeist typified by John Barry and Bernard Herman before him. What excites me most about this group of composers was their ability to demonstrate a maturity in writing but also maintain a desire to experiment. They were also relatively anonymous.

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Essential New Music: White Fang’s “Chunks”

WhiteFang

Engineer/producer Bobby Harlow has said that White Fang collectively and “in all sincerity” hoped Chunks would ultimately “sound like a combination of Britney Spears and Metallica.” By this standard, the 16-track LP—which boasts such nutty-asadvertised anarchical odes as “Chairman Of The Bored,” “Doin’ The Damn Thing,” “Full Time Freaks,” “Turning Square” and “Pissing In The Driveway”—is a failure. By every other remotely applicable standard, it is an overwhelming triumph.

Chunks is the aural equivalent of Angel Dust-era Faith No More traveling back in time to deliver a cache of early Guided By Voices records to Brian Wilson’s house circa 1966, only to fi nd themselves engaged in a everybody-take-their-shirts-off-and-trade instruments jam session. Sure, the record has moments that are a little too willfully obtuse, but the gleeful, id-driven careen ‘n’ bellow lo-fi indie punk found here is sure to be endearing and enlivening for those who find a spoonful of avant-garde helps the partying go down.

—Shawn Macomber

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In The News: Cars, Melvins, Jennifer O’Connor, Iggy Pop, Suuns, Cheap Trick And More

Cars

This spring, two new collections honoring the legacy of the Cars will be released by Rhino. The Elektra Years 1978-1987, due out March 11, is a boxed set containing six remastered studio albums, while Moving In Stereo: The Best Of The Cars, a career-spanning best-of curated by the Cars themselves, will be out May 6 … Sub Pop will issue Three Men And A Baby, a collaboration between Mike Kunka and the Melvins, on April 1 … Candlebox has announced the April 22 release of new album Disappearing In Airports via Pavement … The sixth album from Jennifer O’Connor, Surface Noise, is due out from Kiam on March 4. She’ll pay a string of East Coast dates with Neko Case in support … Detour is the 11th studio album from Cyndi Lauper, which features country classics from the ‘40s, ‘50s and ‘60s as well as duets with Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Jewel and more. It will be out via Sire on May 6 … March 18 will see the release of Iggy Pop’s Post Pop Depression via Rekords Rekords/Loma Vista/Caroline … Suuns’ latest album, Hold/Still, is set for an April 15 release by Secretly Canadian … Big Machine will release Cheap Trick’s new record, Bang Zoom Crazy…Hello on April 1 … The eighth solo album by Peter Wolf, A Cure For Loneliness, will be available April 8 via Concord … Upland Stories, the latest full-length from Robbie Fulks, is due out April 1 via Bloodshot … This April, the fourth album by Kid Congo & the Pink Monkey Birds, La Arana Es La Vida, will be released by In The Red.

—Emily Costantino

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From The Desk Of The High Llamas’ Sean O’Hagan: Lineups

It might seem unusual, at first: British folk/pop auteur Sean O’Hagan padding Here Come The Rattling Trees—his latest outing as bandleader of the High Llamas—with several breezy musical snippets that work as either introductions or codas to delicate, fully realized songs. But in fact, the project first coalesced as a narrative the singer scripted about his South London neighborhood of Peckham, where a local working-class recreation center was being threatened by snooty gentrification. But it quickly morphed into a full-scale production that he staged at a Covent Garden theater—hence the inclusion of rising and descending motifs. O’Hagan will be guest editing magnetmagazine.com all week. Read our new High Llamas feature.

Lineup

O’Hagan: I have just realised that on the rare occasions on which the High Llamas play, the lineup will in almost certainly vary from a previous show. I suppose it varies to suit the demands of the show, and who is not working or in other bands. The last shows were Here Come The Rattling Trees performances at the Tristan Bates Theatre. Pete, Jon, Sean, Marcus and Nick Allum on drums with Rob taking over on the last show. Very quiet band, 12-string guitar, Wurlitzer, nylon-string guitar and vocals.
Previous to that I was commissioned by the London Animation Festival to write music for five 10-minute films featuring Felix The Cat (original prints from 1910). The band changed again. We performed the piece at the Cork Festival with a four-piece band: Pete, Marcus Sean and Dom this time adding marimbas.

Way back in the Hawaii days, we were known to have a brass quartet plus a string quartet as well as a six-piece band. I think when we played the Queen Elizabeth Hall for the Musical Painting performances, it was this near orchestral lineup. I remember playing a French tour with two guitars (12 and nylon), drums and organ. All singing, of course, and another Bruxelles show with vibes, nylon, drums and Wurlitzer plus the spinning paintings. I think Marcus and Sean have played nylon-guitar and cello shows, and yes, a drums/bass/Wurlitzer/nylon quartet. I sat as I had a broken ankle at the time. We had a phase of poor old Rob playing with head phones to click tracks when we had electronics popping all over the place like popcorn in a saucepan.

Recently I was treated to Alex Von Mehren putting together a Norwegian High Llamas for four songs in Bergen at the launch of Alex’s Aeropop remix project. Always a nightmare for sound engineers (when we did not travel with our own) We played so quietly that it would confuse techs all over the world … with exception of Japan.

Last show: Sean at Club Integral, solo. Nylon guitar and piano. The jack to jack was breaking up, so I ditched the line and walked into the audience and went a-wandering, singing to the air and playing like a strolling minstrel. The audience stayed, thank heavens.

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