Firm, but fun, short and sweet blog entry this week due to this week’s Comic Con International.
The girls of K Scope Music.
2016 has been a very heavy banner year for female singers this year on the mighty K Scope Music. This year, the post progressive sounds started out with a bang with January’s The Anchoress debut album up to last month’s second outing by the husband/wife duo of Se Delan. In this blog entry, here are five distinct mini-spotlights on woman singers & instrumentalists that are featured on the greatest music label of all time.
- Lee Douglas (Anathema) has the utmost uncanny ability to make men instantly ‘tebow’ before her during any given Anathema performance and make them propose marriage foolishly while bent on knee. Trust me, as the only female out of this whole group I’ve seen perform live, mens’ hearts instantly go all aflutter when she takes the stage. They listen attentively and then once she slinks back into the shadows to allow the Cavanagh brothers to take over with their hypnotic techno and layer building minimalist riffs, the heavy metal libido will once again fill the room. Then when they bring her out again the savage beast is calmed instantly again with the audience’s shoulders swaying back and forth as bic lighters are lit to make the scene more cinematic as lightning bugs who escape their captivity from airpoked jars. And you can’t help but be moved by the harmonic melding of camaraderie of strangers, especially when you have such an emotional song such as the title track of their 2004 album, A National Disaster to support the need for convergence from a song that first introduced Lee coming out front and center. A song so poignant, that the Cavenagh brothers had no choice but to feature Lee as a later co-conspirator in their new musical direction that they later undertake on the next three albums, “We’re Here Because We’re Here, Weather Systems, and Distant Satellites – equating Lee as a gifted lyrist and a valuable band member in her own right.
One of the most moving songs you’ll ever hear in your lifetime.
2. Belinda Kordic (Crippled Black Phoenix & Se Delan)
I was having a facebook conversation one day with Jason Bonham Experience lead vocalist, James Dylan asked me out of the blue. “Coatney, for as long as I’ve known you on facebook, you’ve always had this unique eclectic taste in music. Always out discovering new kind of sounds, You’ve always known of these hit bands BEFORE they even became hit bands (in addition to progressive rock I always had my headphones buried into, I WAS probably the only guy in my high school listening to new wave acts such as SOFT CELL, PET SHOP BOYS, THE CURE, and the HUMAN LEAGUE. I had heard “Don’t You Want Me Baby” countless times during Scott Muni’s WNEW-FM Friday edition of British Things way before it became an US Dance hit.). What are your recommendations these days?”
We were having this conversation on a tour bus – well, actually he was facebooking me from the tour bus and immediately upon hearing of his question,thought of this husband wife duo who go by the name of Se Delan as that they were releasing a new album called Drifter at the time this conversation was taking place.
And I came to serenade James with this apt description of them: ‘imagine a parallel seventies rock universe if Jimmy Page, John Paul Jones, & John Bonham got so fucking fed up with Robert Plant’s freakin’ shenanigans after the release of their classic fourth album and just decided to kick his arse to the Johnnie Walker empty bottle curb and then turned around to ask guest vocalist Sandy Dennis, who sang a duet with Robert on the song “The Battle of Evermore” to continue as their lead vocalist- that is what Se Delan sort of sounds like.
I don’t exactly know if that stretched out scenario actually grabbed James’ attention, but Se Delan certainly grabbed my attention with their debut album two years ago entitled The Fall with this particular video and single called “Chasing Changes.”
Belinda and her husband Justin Greaves were involved in a previous band together called Crippled Black Phoenix of which some of its’ back catalogue is now readily available on K-Scope Music. However, Se Delan is a personal project of theirs meshing together their mutual interests of music, life, and film. Their new album Drifter is a fascinating collection of songs that look at the hollowing descent into mental madness.
3. Catherine Anne Davies. (Simple Minds, The Anchoress, Paul Draper) is a relatively new girl on the block, but she seems to have racked up plenty of kudos during her freshman tenure so far with last January’s release of her debut Confessions of A Romance Novelist under the guise of The Anchoress which is getting a ton of glowing reviews and has been compared by NPR as Wales’ answer to Lana Del Rey. She spent most of last year as a touring side guitarist and auxiliary keyboardist for long time new wave stalwarts Simple Minds and also has worked with the likes of both Peter Murphy and the London Symphony Orchestra. Former Mansun lead singer Paul Draper produced Catherine’s debut disc and it sold so well, that a second release is more than imminent in the near future. In return, Catherine helped Draper with some of his songs for a forthcoming solo album, some have which now appear on Draper’s brand new EP debut. aptly titled “EP ONE“of which his debut single “Feeling My Heart Run Slow” from the EP ONE is charting well, and also features a collaboration with Steven Wilson on a track called “No Idea“.
Multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, PhD and producer Catherine Anne Davies (aka The Anchoress) sums up her debut album’s overall concept as “deconstructing normative ideas of love and romance”, with each song sung by a different character – “what you might call a musical ghost writing of sorts”. You can hear this distilled in the Prince-inspired feminist manifesto ‘One For Sorrow’ that questions the concept of marriage. There’s a different take on infatuated obsession in the album’s title track, whereas the album’s narrator ironically references her “bedroom shrine to Margaret Thatcher”. Meanwhile, ‘You And Only You’ – an anthemic ode to being better off alone – features the distinctive operatic indie-wail of Mansun’s Paul Draper, who co-produced the album with Catherine.
(Above paragraph was Wikipedia fixed)
By watching the following video, you can immediately tell it’s a tasteful homage to Kate Bush’s first ever video “Wuthering Heights.”
4. Jana Carpenter (Sweet Billy Pilgrim) in addition to being the band’s guitarist, is also an actress, appearing on popular British shows such as Doctor Who, Agatha Christie’s Marple, and Superstorm. In addition to acting and before joining Sweet Billy Pilgrim in 2010 she was also a guitarist for county folk act Piefinger.
Sweet Billy Pilgrim are an English genre spanning band, who are also composed of bassist/banjo player Anthony Bishop, guitarist and singer Tim Elsenburg, and drummer/percussionist Alistair Hamer. Often described as Rock, Folk Rock, Folktronica, Americana, Alternative, Art Rock, Electronica, Pop or Prog, they describe their sound as “Thrash Pastel”. Jana is the only American born prancing around in this pantheon of post progressive rock talent.
(The above paragraph was Wikipedia fixed.)
Once you put their latest platter called Motorcade Amnesiacs on your turntable or CD player, be prepared to be transported to the magical era of hard rocking clever blues, folk, and 70’s infectious style hooks quite reminiscent of the days of the J. Geils Band, Average White Band, or INXS with just enough smattering of surprise endings that will make you instantly clamor for more.
I was a little late to the party for this one. I literally just picked up this albums just a few days ago. They have a very clever video to go with their single ‘Sling Shot Grin’ that employs the idea of verse and chorus as a mode of communication breakdown between random quarreling couples. You may see a familiar face in this video: actress Kama Sutra’s Indira Varma, who currently has a recurring role on “Games of Thrones.”
It’s just been announced that K-Scope Music will be re-issuing the three-fourths quartet from Aylesbury ‘s debut album from 2004, “We Just Did What Happened and No One Came…”
5. Marjana Semkina (iamthemorning)
They are from Russia and I’ve been very, very unlucky in locating both of their albums in the US, so pardon me if I get a few things unclarified in my brief summary.
I love the story of how they came to be: Vincent Cavanagh of Anathema saw a little lady in serious danger of getting trampled to death in a rush to the stage at one of their shows in St. Petersburg and immediately grabbed her to pull her up on stage. In thanks for saving her life, little Marjana put a copy of hers’ and her pianist collaborator Gleb Kolyadin’s first album in his hands. After Daniel listened to the album, he stormed into K-Scope Music A & R head honcho’s Johnny Wilkes’s office and demanded that this duo got signed to the level. Then within a span of few years, the duo became known as iamthemorning, named after a song on the much missed defunct band angst punk band Oceansize’s debut album. They’ve worked on their second album entitled ‘Belighted” with Tori Amos’ producer Marcel van Limbeek as well as their newly released “Lighthouse”. Both albums feature guest performances by fellow Porcupine Tree alumni drummer Gavin Harrison and bassist Colin Edwin along with Riverside’s vocalist Mariusz Duda and were recorded both in Moscow and in London.
As the above video demonstrates, Semkina is today’s definitive version of what a siren’s cry luring a sailor to sea should sound like accompanied by the graduatory piano talents of Saint Petersburg Conservatory’s own Gleb Kolyadin which leads you to a mind blowing exploration of the perfect amalgamation between pop and chamber music.
Well, that’s it for this week. Next month, Yes will be in my hometown touring with full lengths performances of both the Drama & half of Tales of Topographic Oceans. Maybe I should plan a special Yes Log accordingly.
I Leave you with this bonus video: “The Dirge” by Se Delan which serves as the backdrop theme for their first album; ‘The Fall.”