Huw's Sŵn is Now. Almost.
MARTIN CARR & BAND
I've followed Martin's musical odyssey since the very early days of the Boo Radleys when I bought Ichabod & I off Mold Indoor Market with money I'd made busking (terribly) in Chester.
The Boo Radleys enthralled me because their music reached out well beyond the indie genre in which it had been ghettoised. I heard John Coltrane, Jah Wobble, the Byrds, Jimmy Webb, the Beach Boys, My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr directly as a result of the cornucopia of influences that nuanced the Boo Radleys' music. I remember standing up for them in a drunken argument, once, to the point of almost getting a bloody nose. All because a friend was deriding the "you can't blame me, now, for the death of summer..." line from Wake Up Boo!, their Biggest Hit.
"What a load of nonsense. Course you can't 'kill summer'. Bloody hippies!"
Appreciation of poetic license wasn't high amongst the qualities of my mid 90's drinking buddies.
Martin Carr has been a constant source of inspiration since the Boo Radleys' demise. He's never rested on that band's reputation or back catalogue and is something of a musical shark - swimming ever onwards into new musical waters: bravecaptain, the Black Serpent Choir and, now, with his most well-received album in a decade, as plain and far-from-simple Martin Carr.
Ye Gods! (And Little Fishes) has earned excellent reviews from the music media cognoscenti, NME called it "a very warm, human record" and proclaimed Martin "one of our finest songwriters." I've been saying that for months, but if I quoted me, who'd give a stuff?
It is a wonderful record: full of burnished melodies and emotively charged by equal amounts of heartbreak, yearning and hope. If you well-up and get all philosophical watching a beautiful sunset, you'll love Martin and his songs. Honest injun.
Race Horses began life back in Aberystwyth as Radio Luxembourg. Not the pirate radio station that forced the BBC's hand into giving us Radio 1, but it's that confusion that has catalysed the name change. A bit like when Teflon Monkey was advised to change his name just in case anyone actually thought the pan makers extraordinaire had diversified into non-stick simians.
Musically Race Horses manage to wield playground melodies, sulphrous psych meltdowns, garage band (no capitals) energy and a wide-eared love of pop music with more aplomb than anyone else I can think of.
They've progressed into different territory from their Gorkys-like beginnings and are one of the finest live bands I have seen this year.
An album is forthcoming soon on Fantastic Plastic. If you like the Lovin' Spoonful, Why?, Gorkys Zygotic Mynci and The Seeds you will find much to be bewitched by here.
Imagine, if you will, that I am an empty Space Hopper. If every time someone had fervently told me in real world syllables how incredible Liam Percy George's Son Capson are live, but had spoken their eulogy into my nozzle as an exhalation of hot breath, I would have burst due to over-inflation. I'm conducting a similar experiment as I write this with my stomach and Jaffa Cakes and I can confirm that I am painfully bloated.
Another waff-air thin compliment would have any lesser-trained stomach splattering itself all over my office walls. Fortunately I have been training for this for many years.
Son Capson started sending me strange and urgent home recordings just over a year ago. His songs are all about attack. The piano gets attacked; your preconceptions assaulted; the English language besieged; his larynx napalmed. The end result is like screaming down the side of the Matterhorn in a go kart loosely assembled by drunk armadillos, with Tom Waits and a knackered piano as passengers.
Yes, that good.
If you woke one morning to discover a sentient bubble of pulsating hues had materialised overnight in your kitchen, gently humming an uninterrupted mix of seemingly unrelated musics, and after years of trying to crack this musical code you finally realise its language is every great song never played on independent radio where the artist's key initial was 'B', only to hear, at that epiphanic moment, it hum Toni Braxton's Un-Break My Heart, thus smashing your faculties for reasoning into a million shards of insanity. If that happened to you, it still wouldn't be as charged with the unexpected as what Science Bastard do.
Their music is from the 13th and a half dimension. If Stephen Hawking saw a numeric representation of what they do, he'd get up out of his wheelchair and start running, Forrest Gump-style. But he'd never stop.
All right, I've got somewhat caught up in my own verbal incontinence, there. This happens when I am nervous and excited. And I am very nervous and excited about seeing Science Bastard. They're everything and nothing served up in a parallel universe where punk and prog hybridised by genetically cutting out the worst elements of both.
I appreciate this isn't helping.
Probably best to check them out on https://myspace.com/sciencebastard.
Science Bastard are on stage at 6:15pm. That's SIX FIFTEEN PM.
As well as all of the bands in my room at Chapter, Bethan Elfyn and the knights of BBC Radio 1 Introducing in Wales will be hosting the wonderful Marina and the Diamonds, Bright Light Bright Light, Post War Years and Zimmermans in the room next door. The bands will be staggered so that you won't have to miss a note.
Information about tickets / wristbands and schedules for all of the other Swn-related events over the three day festival can be found at https://swnfest.com.
If you come I promise not to misuse or abuse another word of the English language for a whole year on pain of no-more-Jaffa-Cakes.
Dear god, pray for me.