Tag Archives: Six By Seven

The Best of 2013

So, where does a year go? As we march tiredly towards the season of the Santa I offer below my year in music. Rather than doing a top ten this year it’s a chronology of the new music that crossed my radar. I struggle with lists by preference as I tend to appreciate the latest discovery or release more (a bit like having children!). In some cases they actually raised their heads during different months, sometimes in response to gigs and sometimes because I found them on This Is My Jam, which is one of the best places to find new bands and rediscover songs long forgotten. Hopefully the You Tube links will be stable for a little while but catch them while you can and my apologies for any regional restrictions encountered. Take your time, it’s all worth checking out.

 01 – Jan – La Busta Gialla  – Il Sogno Del Marinaio

Featuring Mike Watt, bass player with the Stooges, fIREhOSE, J Mascis and the marvelous Minutemen I caught Il Sogno Del Marinaio at a tiny venue in Leicester. A very individual album, more of a song cycle than a set of songs and with wide ranging references. I blogged a little about it here.

Partisan Song by Il Sogno del Marinaio

02 – Jan – Lady From Shanghai – Pere Ubu

I saw Pere Ubu many years ago in London and they are one of those mythic bands that drift into memory. I was surprised to see that they were playing at the Rescue Rooms in Nottingham and not knowing their recent (and consistently strange) output over recent years was intrigued to take a look. David Thomas is an idiosyncratic artist. Well worth reading more about if you like your artists focused on the process and not the audience. Real grumpy as well. The gig was 90% new material form the current record.

414 Seconds by Pere Ubu

03 – Feb – m.b.v – My Bloody Valentine

A lot has been written about m.b.v. Snook out after 14 years in production via their website one Sunday night in February it was universally well received. But you know all this. If I was scoring them this would be in the upper reaches.

New You by My Bloody Valentine

04 – Feb – Push the Sky Away – NCATBS

Nick Cave is one of my favourite artists and this is a beautiful album. A fairly small set of Bad Seeds used on this but to great effect. An artist so far ahead of the pack and I suspect still heading to the top of game (to mix a few metaphors). This album features one the greatest opening song lyrics ever committed – see Mermaids. Bad man….

Jubilee Street by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

05 – Feb – AMOK – Atoms For Peace

Tom Yorke and his ‘super group’ Atoms for Peace. An expansion of his previous solo album and another diverse mix of styles and references. As with all super groups the end doesn’t always equal the sum of the parts but engaging and original non the less.

Amok by Atoms for Peace

06 – Feb – The Raven That Refused to Sing and Other Stories – Steven Wilson

An artist new to me and discovered through TIMJ. It’s probably been used but think contemporary Mike Oldfield. Keeping the prog flag flying.

The Raven That Refused to Sing by Steve Wilson

07 – March – Next Day – David Bowie

Another artist sneaking a new project out with ut warning after extended leave. He followed up ‘Where Are We Now’ with the brilliant ‘Next Day’ album. Still milking the franchise with an ‘extra’ edition somewhat cynically but the original song set was an impressive return. This was my favourite track and has a great video.

The Stars Are Out Tonight by David Bowie

08 – March – Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving

Thurston Moore, after quitting Sonic Youth and splitting with Kim Gordon released his contribution to the new projects from Lee Renaldo and Gordon. Still very ‘Youth’. Would have loved to see them live but the tour was cursory in the UK.

Burroughs by Chelsea Light Moving

09 – March – The Invisible Way – Low

Low first came to my attention when Robert Plant covered a couple of their songs and since then I’ve amassed quite a few of their many albums. They all have a different character and the Invisible Way is quite subtle in many ways. Managed to see them in November and they give good gig. Their mastery of the quite / loud dynamic is black belt standard.

Plastic Cup by Low

10 – May – More Light – Primal Scream

I played this album to death when it came out. A massive double album with some impressive material. The song below is probably one of the more low key tracks but the mixed up second half really makes it work. The album also featured a slightly cleaned up version of the Grinderman ‘Worm Tamer’ track which was a surprise.

River of Pain by Primal Scream

11 – June – Tomorrows Harvest – Boards of Canada

One of those bands I had heard about but not really experimented with. In many ways they have become a softer experience and I prefer the earlier ‘left field’ albums. Still an interesting record when taken at the appropriate time.

Reach for the Dead by Boards of Canada

12 – July – Peace, Love & Sympathy – Six By.Seven

A new Six By.Seven album from Chris Olley. I know Chris a little bit and he is a committed and prolific artist. Along with his solo and electro beat music he got the band back together with a brilliant and dynamic new drummer for this album. Their homecoming gig in Nottingham was huge and really enjoyable. More about that here including a live version of this track.

Sympathy by Six By.Seven

13 – July – Slow Focus – Fuck Buttons

Like the Boards of Canada I was encouraged to try this record. Sonic terrorists with flashing lights. Unfortunately I missed their local gig but I’ve very much enjoyed discovering their material.

Brainfreeze by Fuck Buttons

14 – July – The Big Dream – David Lynch

Just incredible. David Lynch makes unique music. This is darker than Crazy Clown Time and features Lynch on some very distorted guitar and heavily processed vocals. There is nothing else like it. He post released an additional track ‘Bad the John Boy’ which is so dark it sucks light out the room.

Star Dream Girl by David Lynch

15 – Aug – Civil Wars – Civil Wars

Nu-Folk but done well (think, completely unlike Mumford & Sons). It was however pretty much this track that I bought the album for. A cover of the Smashing Pumpkins epic, Disarm.

Disarm by Civil Wars

16 – Aug – The Bootleg Series Vol. 10 – Another Self Portrait (1969–1971) – Bob Dylan

The Bobcat came out with Vol 10 of the Bootleg series and a real curve ball choice. Featuring material from Self Portrait & New Morning as well as the Isle of Wight concert in 1970 it was probably the lowest down most Dylanites list of preferred re-issues. It does however sound fresh and alive and proves Dylans history isn’t just his presumed classics.

Pretty Saro by Bob Dylan

17 – Sept – And I’ll Scratch Yours – Various – Peter Gabriel

Completing his ‘Scratch my Back’ project, this compilation of Gabriel songs features a number of artists covering his songs. A mixed bag but with some highlights. This being the highest even before the poignancy of Lou’s demise.

Solsbury Hill – Lou Reed

18– Sept – Dream River – Bill Callahan

Another highlight. I became aware of Bill/Smog through I Break Horses a couple of years ago. His album though is very high up the list of memorable 2013 issues. Lyrically and musically individual. Another sadly brief number of UK shows, maybe next time.

Javelin UnLanding by Bill Callahan

19 – Sept – Man & Myth – Roy Harper

And another artist steeping out of retirement with a solid return. I was never the biggest Harper fan but he does have moments of genius. Unfortunately his year went downhill but the jury is still out.

The Exile by Roy Harper

20 – Oct – Lightning Bolt – Pearl Jam

Eddie and the Lightening Rods flashing around again. Not peak era Pearl Jam but good for a blast. Maybe they are just too big now.

Sirens by Pearl Jam

21 – Oct – Last Night on Earth – Lee Ranaldo & the Dust

More ex-Sonic Youth output. Of all of them this is my favourite and it’s been hammered in the car. With Youth drummer Steve Shelly included it has some huge songs and great guitar work outs. Another band very high on the ‘wltm’ list.

The Rising Tide by Lee Ranaldo & the Dust

22 – Oct – Birmingham (Live) – Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

As a long standing fan of Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel I don’t know why I missed the live shows but at least the double album release of Human Menagerie & Psychomodo turned out well. Exhuberant performances of some timeless songs.

Tumbling Down by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel

23 – Nov – Sweet Summer Sun, Hyde Park 2013 – Rolling Stones

Yep. The Stones got it back together and they are still breathing and on good form. I wasn’t there. I don’t like crowds…..

Miss You by the Rolling Stones

24 – Dec – Live from KCRW – NCATBS

A possibly opportunistic live release of some material from Push The Sky Away and a few other tracks. However, its completely brilliant, especially Higgs Boson Blues (absolutely the best song of the year) and an evil version of Jack The Ripper.

Mercy Seat by Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds

25 – Dec – Live from the Cellar Door – Neil Young

Cheating slightly here because at the time of writing this hasn’t been released. I have heard about half of it though and I’m really looking forward to it.

Cinnamon Girl by Neil Young

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Six.By Seven at the Rescue Rooms

Six.By Seven RR01

This will end up as a non-linear piece. Mainly when I have a written thing in mind it gestates for a day or so, or appears fully formed at the moment of it’s birth pretty much without any critical capacity getting involved. A little like throwing fruit at a wall, some of it sticks and looks pretty, some of it drops into the dust.

I’ve mentioned in several previous posts my admiration for Six.By Seven. Their new album (Love and Peace and Sympathy) is a great record. Chris Olleys enthusiasm for the project has been immense and in no small part inspired by getting drummer Steve Hewitt from Placebo on board. Seeing them live brings sense to this enthusiasm.

But, skipping back an hour or so….

One of things that I’ve noticed and noted in previous ‘review’ posts is that even though I’ve turned out for the main event the starters have been surprising and impressive. From WTATDR & Variety Lights, there are a lot of really committed bands playing support the ticket sellers.

Grey Hairs RR01

The SIx.By Seven gig had three openers but sadly I only arrived in time to catch Grey Hairs. As they came out to check their equipment I had made some tiny preconceptions which where shortly trampled into sticky mush by their utterly clear mission to leave the audience shaken by commitment and volume. I looked them up when I got home and found their website here Both available recordings are worth a look. I’m particularly impressed by any band that can pull off a fresh cover of a Pere Ubu classic.

Grey Hairs RR02Listen to their take on Final Solution here….

Six.By Seven played the new album Love and Peace and Sympathy. Chris Olley wore a hat that made me think of Fields of the Nephelim which is odd because I never saw them and don’t really recall any of their material. At a push I would wear a hat like that but would probably opt for something more Sam Spade given the choice. The Rescue Rooms have really invested in their sound system in recent years and don’t seem to have acquiesced to any H&S policies when it comes to volume (this being a good thing).

Six.By Seven RR03

The set falls under awesome for filing. The band gave it their all, they had some great material that has a solid fingerprint but a good level of variation, and they are very skilled.

Six.By Seven RR05

One of the stand out tracks on the album is Truce. I managed to film that one, and its here…………

This is the album version of the song…

Six.By Seven RR06

Above all, a great night out. There is real music in the world and it’s nearer than you think.

Epilog

In a brave late night decision making style Chris Olley kindly agreed to a Twitter interview. The full text is included below. I think you’ll find it both incisive and informative.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Did you get the video to work eventfully? I need more words for the post. How about a twitter interview. I’ll be Richard Maddely.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn yeah, Truce, looks great. Who’s Richard Maddely?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Only someone totally committed to something other than idiocy could ask that. Well done. Interview has started.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn Is he part of Operation Yewtree?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 That’s yet to suggested so let’s move on. ‪@rescuerooms has really sorted its sound system out. So, tell us about the hat?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms The hat is a Stetson I found on Brokeback Mountain.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms Rescue Rooms was best venue of tour, best venue in UK I’d say! Amazing room, dressing room and PA soundman etc.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 ‪@rescuerooms Are you just saying that because you might bump into them in the Market Square? ‪#Nottingham is a tight city.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn ‪@rescuerooms No, we all thought that. Rock City is best venue in UK, I’ve always said that, to watch bands I mean, and play!!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 ‪@rescuerooms I agree. The National Trust has a preservation order on the carpet apparently….

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Moving on, the new album has an iconic front  cover. Is there a Beatles reference relating to the inner spread?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn No, it had all the lyrics on it but we used invisible ink. It was a fuck up but great for signing autographs on the tour!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 The band is really well rehearsed and slay the songs. How did you meet Steve the drummer and does he come with a H&S policy?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

21h

‪@adrian4acn Knew him from Placebo days, touring with them, he’s a hard living man!

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

21h

‪@ChrisOlley1 He certainly gave me a day & 1/2 of tintinitus. The tours over now, will you be doing more gigs soon, here or in other lands?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Hopefully a bigger tour in November. We will also be playing in Poland in October.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

20h

‪@ChrisOlley1 Last question. You speak German. Is there a possibility that you could do a Helden and record Waffenstillstand?

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Waffenstillstand?

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 it’s the closest Google translate could get to ‘Truce’ It’s a shapely looking word.

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

12h

‪@adrian4acn Oh yeah! Truce is Waffenstillstand. In the context of this song though it’s probably more like ‘Ruhe’.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 That would better in the context of the song as well.

 

A4+ ‏‪@adrian4acn

12h

‪@ChrisOlley1 So on that note, Chris Olley, thank you and good night!

 

Chris Olley ‏‪@ChrisOlley1

10h

‪@adrian4acn Goodnight Adrian 🙂

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Six by Seven – New Album, nearly…

IMG_5061

A quick post here. I’m a big fan of  (whatever that means) of Six by Seven. Chris is a really nice bloke and a very good photographer. The band really should have had greater  recognition but for what ever reason it didn’t quite happen in the 90’s. I find their output really dynamic and interesting and possessing a very original Englishness. Chris has made a mass of great music including all of the eurostyle ’12’ electronic albums and many solo acoustic records. A truly dedicated artist, and for me a big inspiration.

Any ho’, they have it seems recorded a new full electric album which will be due soon. Read more here on Stereoboard.

Until then, you can get this, which I recommend you do.

Its probably a good idea to get this whilst you are at it.

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Six by Seven – Vinyl EP3

With a fully electric crackle and slow burn velveteen tension creeping around a pair of speakers near you comes the really very excellent new EP3 from Chris Olley and Six By Seven. Check into their Bandcamp to download the real MP3or FLAC and buy the far more classy vinyl CD. With that 45rpm retro styling you might be reluctant to slide it in to your Bang & Olufson, but trust me, it works fine. Just remember, grove side up, just like the old days.

For the doubtful, you can listen here via the stylish BandCamp audio widget.

Support independant music, listen, love it, buy some.

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(The Death Of) Six By Seven – Live

I’m really late with this as I meant to post it two weeks ago.

On the 16th of May Chris Olley & band (James Flower – bass ,Pete Stevenson – keys & Martin Cooper – guitar) played through the recent album ‘(The Death Of) Six By Seven’ at the Maze in Nottingham.

I’ve posted previously about Chris & Six By Seven and I have a lot of admiration for Chris’s music. This was the first time I’ve seen him play (other than YouTube) and it was well worth it.

Here’s a rehearsal from Chris’s blog.

Chris is a dynamic performer and his Martin did a good job of keeping its strings on through the set.

Here’s the opening track ‘The Writing On The Wall’ from the album…..

More about the music here and you can buy a digital version album on Bandcamp.

I took quite a few pictures but I’m still playing with some of them. I’ll post some more here when they get where they are going.

Here’s one of the songs ‘Chain’ from first (The Death Of) Six By Seven EP

The band are playing at the The Hope And Anchor in Islington, London on Friday the 13th of July. I hope it goes well for them. Support live music, go see them.

Here’s one more song. This from the second EP. It’s called ‘Just Give Me Love’

 

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Six By Seven – Up Dated

Without wishing to embarrass any body (Chris Olley for example), I’d like to bring your attention to Six By Seven if it hasn’t been bought for that purpose before.

A few weeks ago I read a Guardian article about the death of Britpop or some such thing. It might have been this about ‘Guitar Music’ or this about the low sales of Rock as opposed to Pop.

More journo twitter, really. I don’t honestly care about Coldplay, Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs and High Flying Birds & Twitchy Eye.

Our little island has contributed more than most to proper music and not all of it needs chart ranks and arena tours.

Shamefully up until about a year ago I had never heard of Six By Seven. It happened like this .

(Insert that wiggly effect that happens just before flash back scenes in the final reveal of TV crime capers)

In my day job that shall remain nameless, I fielded an inquiry from a chap in a bat cave who had been commissioned to display his recent photographic project. ’92 Stadiums’ featured a number of pictures (I forget how many) of UK football grounds. Shot in real analog black & white he had toured the country on a motorbike and photographer all of venues whilst unused. There are virtually no people in any of the shots and in some cases the stadia are only just visible between rows of terraced houses. Whilst I confess to not giving fig or other dried fruit about football I couldn’t help bit admire the concept, intent & execution of the project. The exhibition eventually went into Derby Museum and has toured at least in part elsewhere since.

Some while after the event I got into conversation with the guy about mutual interests, photography, music etc when he drops into the conversation that he’s sold several thousand albums and been on the John Peel show on a bunch of occasions.  Weird. Slightly unexpected.

Turns out Chris Olley is the main chap in critically acclaimed Nottingham based band Six By Seven. Nottingham hasn’t contributed massively to the musical landscape (unless you count the mound Paper Lace are buried under, could be worse, could be Black Lace) but 6/7 definitely gave it a good go.

Here’s an interview from 2000 or there about’s…

As well as being a unique talent Chris runs a great blog, his own record company (SNSM), has a studio in Nottingham and produces music for other artists. I’ll name drop here Julian Cope whose brother I vaguely knew of forever ago in Tamworth.  There’s a man who needs more attention.

Spend some time here. There’s no point me copy pasting what you can find pre baked.

I strongly recommend The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen By Proxy and the most recent release The Death Of Six By Seven (the ‘Nebraska’ album) In fact everything I’ve heard so far is impressive and worth some time.

Here’s a song from the Munchausen…

….and here’s a video from 2008….

Check any You Tube and you’ll see great comments. The band (?) are playing live  soon hopefully so I’ll be getting a ‘T’ and digging out my AC/DC cut off.

Here’s another blog by Chris and I would definitely advocate you try ‘I Can Make You Sick’ which is a strange listening experience and not something you want to explain to the kids when you are on the school run. Believe me….

Tell your friends. Bring back guitar bands. Sorry I was late to the party…..

UP DATE 11/02/12

There’s a Valentines Special now available at http://sixbyseven.bandcamp.com  Four really good songs on a pay what you like  transaction. Love analog, dig in with troops….

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