Springing from Southend’s buoyant music scene (Nothing But Thieves, Youth Club, David Woodcock) Usselman is the moniker for multi-instrumentalist Chris Usselman – who, has written, arranged and produced a debut album of glittering alt electro-pop ‘all fun and games until everyone goes blind’
Ten futurist-tunes drawing from the synthesized gold mine of giorgio moroder, sparks and depeche mode, with the millennial edge and depth of rodion, ulrich schnauss and tycho on tracks like ‘Mountains’ ‘Wolf’ and sure-fire festival belter ‘The Valley’
Includes singles to date ‘Tongue Tied’ and ‘With The Tides’ and ‘Wolf’ which have received radio airplay from Steve Lamacq BBC 6 music, producers pick at BBC introducing Essex, whilst international stations have supported Radio Alpa (France), Byte FM + Couch FM (Germany), Artefaktor Radio, EU Radio Nantes (album of the week) as well as various college radio stations.
Mixed in London and Oslo by Kev Feazey and Nick Terry – Usselman’s ‘All Fun and Games Until Everyone Goes Blind’ could be the lost soundtrack to a sci-fi cult classic or a ready-made art-pop playlist – and is a welcome addition to the electronic unit of Blow Up Records (Baltic Fleet, Aspic Boulevard, Daiquiri Fantomas).
Blow Up presents Yéyé Existentialiste – a compilation of the recording highlights of one of the world’s greatest exponents of lo-fi pop – Stereo Total.
Stereo Total is the Berlin based French-German duo Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring, whose playful eclectic music incorporates anything from New Wave, Pop Electronique, 60’s French pop mashed up with trashy garage Punk Rock and Disco to form the band’s distinctive sound:“We’ve got a special sense of aesthetic. Cheap and cheesy, but still cool and chic”
Silvery are a “splenetic, frenetic, kinetic” London band founded by lead singer and songwriterJames Ormanwho creates a world immersed in all things eccentrically English, with lyrical content mixing non-fiction, Victoriana, love of historic machinery and 70’s TV detective-isms with a musical philosophy of “anything goes”. With a nod toBlur,Bowie,XTCandSparks, they make an eclectic but somehow commercial proposition, which could well turn the band into household names.
… with it building on the strong support for their 2008 debut album Thunderer And Excelsior which was voted an Artrocker Album of The Year (No.19) and received Radio support from Steve Lamacq and Marc Riley, with the band recording sessions for BBC 6 Music and Radio One.
Describing the relationship between the band’s two albums, James Orman states, “I wanted to populate the townscapes I described on the first album; both albums are very much connected…” It blends the sound of post-punk, Britpop, music hall and 60s and 70s pop into this year’s most exciting release yet.
2011 will see the band bring the albums to the live stage with dates at Club NME at KoKo already confirmed before they play at the HMV next Big Thing at the Blow Up Records night.
Doncaster’s finestNeon Plastixreturn with the killer brand new singleGentlemen’s Gold.Taken from debut LP “Awesome Moves” which follows in May – the album is chock full of electro tinged dancefloor pop, includingOn Fireand ten other future smashes.Move over electro-pretenders – Neon Plastix are back!
THE DEBUT NEON PLASTIX ALBUM
Neon Plastix release their long awaited Debut LP “Awesome Moves” after taking what seems like one hell of a siesta. From Doncaster, Neon Plastix have achieved a cult following both in the UK, Europe and USA, despite having only released 2 singles to date (Neon Invasion/Prick Tease, On Fire/Dream), even securing deals with E.A Games ‘Need For Speed’ and Sony Eriksson for use of their music. Neon Plastix have played multitudes of dates across Europe, including a spot at Glastonbury. After they declared an inevitable hiatus whilst some members finished college courses and such, the band have woke up and rubbed their eyes, dusted themselves down and are ready to release their debut album “Awesome Moves”
Neon Plastix look a little more like a band made up from children’s photo-fit illustrations rather than the next cool kids on the block, and they certainly don’t stray too far with their Manifesto. Spending more time writing happy accidents than leaning on walls, chewing gum all slack jawed, name dropping every cool band that’s dead and gone as an influence. These guys don’t seem to “do” serious, they’ve even been known to take exercise equipment on stage with them asking random people in the audience to get up and work out mid performance. “It should all be about having fun, we’re not the type of band who can deliver thoughtful and profound messages, we’re just about grabbing hold of a few minutes here and there and having as much fun with what you have”
Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck
Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck are an 8-piece pop-orchestra from Ängelholm, Sweden. Their debut album Days Come and Gomade the top five list of albums of the year for Sweden’s national newspaper Sydsvenskan and this year they release ‘Leaving For A Day‘ a brand new track, which will be taken from a new edition of their debut which will be expanded to include additional tracks.
Ever since the age of fourteen Daniel Wennergren has been writing songs. In 2003 he teamed up with his younger brother Niklas to become the musical force behind the pop collective which would come to be called Mockingbird, wish me luck (after the Charles Bukowski poetry collection). They and the other steady members got together through a common vision of a different sound ideal and sincere lyrics. Anyone who wanted was welcome to join but as Ängelholm is quite small they soon found that there were only eight people who liked this kind of music! As well as Daniel on bass and Niklas on guitar, there is Gustaf on drums and keys, percussion, woodwind and brass are covered by Cecilia, Clara, Fredrik and Staffan. They do like to swap instruments though, and everyone provides the harmonies to the soaring vocals of singer Joakim.
Over the next few years, without reference to the outside world, the band began to record their songs, just a few at a time (they have described themselves as “the slowest recording band ever”). Everything was done without any help and in the true DIY indie spirit – drums were recorded in their rehearsal room and almost everything else in their parents apartment. Despite their admittance that “nobody really knew which buttons to push”, by the time Blow Up Records made contact, they had quite a collection of songs – both beautiful and unforgettable. They decided to put these together, along with some new tracks, to form their debut album Days Come And Go. When the recording was complete, Daniel and Niklas flew to London for additional production and mixing at The Premises in Hackney with Nick Terry (Klaxons, SMD).
The result is a genuine sounding record that is sure to sit comfortably next to Belle & Sebastian, David & the Citizens, Jens Lekman and Bright Eyes in your collection.
Fay Hallam & The Bongolian
When Fay Hallam played live at Blow Up and was introduced to Blow Up’s very own recording artist, Mr Nasser Bouzida AKA ‘The Bongolian‘, little did they know that they would shortly get together to create the album ‘Lost in Sound‘.
Both Fay and Nasser shared a passion for 60’s Hammond Beat and Soul. In the studio, they felt free to experiment with different sounds and rhythms, immersing themselves in a mixture of sounds including Bossa Nova, heavier 70’s grooves and a strong Northern Soul influences. During the months they worked on these recordings, Fay would bring the basic songs into the studio, and flesh out the arrangements with Nasser. Their choice of instruments included mainly old Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, a Hammond C3 and other vintage equipment, mixing things up with some cool cinematic synth sounds. As the sessions developed, the songs kept flowing; finally resulting in the album being completed in London where it was mixed by Miles Clarke an engineer for The Who and Pete Townsend, with additional mixing and final album mastering by Nick Bennett.
Get ready to get Lost in Sound…
Fay Hallam, originally from Wolverhampton, a long time exponent of 60’s style beat and pop, has performed over the years in acts such as Makin’ Time (which also included a pre-The Charlatans Martin Blunt) to The Prime Movers, Phaze and The Fay Hallam Trinity. She has worked with Billy Childish, Graham Day, Alan Crockford and many other luminaries of the Medway garage scene where she lived for 17 years. Touring the UK and Europe extensively over the years, in one guise or another.
Nasser Bouzida, originally from Newbury, Berkshire, has recorded four albums with Big Boss Man and six solo records as The Bongolian for Blow Up. A multi-instrumentalist and a man with a huge passion for drums and percussion, but who plays keys and guitar with equal aplomb. His music has proved popular for film, TV and advertising placements whilst being a big hit with Funk / Boogaloo DJs with the creation of some essential smoking dancefloor classics and has entertained live with plenty of touring and festival appearances across Europe.
Fay Hallam ‘Corona’
Following Fay Hallam’s acclaimed collaboration with The Bongolian, (Fay Hallam & The Bongolian ‘Lost In Sound’) for Blow Up Records, the label subsequently released a solo album for Fay Hallam ‘Corona’ in 2015 (CD/180g Vinyl/Digital).
Fay wrote the majority of the songs in a two day whirlwind writing session after returning from a tour of Italy, which ultimately inspired this atmospheric eclectic album. ‘Corona’ has absorbed Fay’s love for the Bossa Nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Astrud Gilberto, the experimental productions of the Carpenters and the eclecticism of Beck. There’s even a nod to the 50’s pop of Frankie Laine with ‘Giving Myself Away’ and a sole cover: Paul McCartney’s classic ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ joins the new set of songs.
With thoughts still fresh of driving through the Alps and soaking up the ambience, the songs took on a reflective mood displaying a softer, more atmospheric side to Fay’s music. An almost nocturnal feel prevails at times, exemplified by album opener ‘Se mi Ami’, perfect for late night listening, whilst her love for Soul and Rhythm & Blues still shines through on songs such as ‘Let Me Into Your Soul’ and ‘Sunny’
Originally from Wolverhampton, vocalist and keyboard player Fay Hallam has performed over the years in acts such as Makin’ Time (with a pre-The Charlatans Martin Blunt), The Prime Movers, Phaze and The Fay Hallam Trinity. She has worked with Billy Childish, Graham Day, Alan Crockford and other luminaries of the Medway scene where she has lived for many years. She has toured the UK and Europe extensively.
CREDITS: ‘Corona’ was produced, recorded and arranged by Fay, with the accompaniment of her group of long time trusted musical collaborators for the performances. Recording took place over several months at various locations with additional production and mixing by Kev Feazey.
“Fabulous. A complete, start to finish journey of an album. Timeless”
LOUDER THAN WAR
“The welcome return of Fay Hallam” SHINDIG Magazine
“Sumptuous bossa nova soul”
GET INTO THIS
“Beguiling …1000 Blue Ribbons sounds like a great, lost Dusty A-side, and Without A Smile is one of the best things Hallam has recorded” MOJO
The debut single ‘Se Mi Ami’ receiving radio support from Gideon Coe, Don Letts at BBC 6 Music and featuring in Lauren Laverne’s ‘6 Music Recommends’.
David Woodcock is a singer-songwriter based in his hometown of Southend-on-Sea. A pianist and prolific writer, with a strong local following, he has been building up a solid songbook of sharp lyrics and great melodies that have been distilled into two albums to date, the self-titled debut and Normal Life.
David’s songs are steeped in the classic British song writing tradition epitomised by the likes of Ray Davies, Steve Harley and Ian Dury. Lyrics filled with humour, pathos, wry observations and a riotous energy – in David’s music there’s certainly an air of Ian Hunter rockin’ it up with Mott The Hoople, Vivian Stanshall as a drunken Harry Nilsson, Pete Doherty with a clean bill of health or Damon Albarn in young, cocky scamp mode. Live, David works the room to the max. He gives us tales of lost love, lust, jealousy, memories, regrets and of living life to its messy limits and all the consequences that entails.
The debut album included singles, ‘Same Things’, ‘Beggars Can’t Be Choosers’ and ‘Open Secret, ‘The Adventures Of You and Me’ all of which had strong radio support from key UK tastemakers, Steve Lamacq – “A great little pop record” – (BBC 6 Music), John Kennedy (Xfm X-posure Hot One) and Gary Crowley (BBC London + Amazing Radio).
The second album Normal Life was released in 2019. Recorded and produced by David and Joe Lamb, over a two year period across various recording sessions. The results being a thirteen song selection. Kevin Feazey who had also mixed the debut album mixed Normal Life in London whilst undertaking some additional recording in Southend with David and Joe.
For fans of David’s debut there will be much to love and cherish with this new selection of songs. It sees him expand and develop the recording process and arrangements, but the riotous spirit is still very much alive and kicking. Turn it on, pour a drink and revel in the world of David Woodcock.
Daiquiri Fantomas are a Sicilian experimental Avant-Pop duo founded by composers and multi-instrumentalists Marco Barrano and Dario Sanguedolce, Daiquiri Fantomas is a cocktail of ideas with a Retro-Futuristic flavour, citing the 60s/70s, encompassing Prog, electronica, Sci-Fi movie soundtracks, Kosmische, World and ancient music, focusing anyway to a contemporary sound. Among their inspirations you can also find references to a non-conventional Sicilian and Mediterranean culture. Due to its position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Sicily has always been a crossing place for many different peoples: Roman, Greek, Spanish, Arab, French influences are easily found in a stratified melting pot that shapes a unique kaleidoscope of cultures. All this, mixed with the European mood – no less important to define the identity of the group, converges into Daiquiri Fantomas musical soul.
The duo comes from Caltagirone, town in the middle of a baroque area, well known for its artistic ceramics. The beginning of the band takes place during a “summer afternoon jam-session” in 2010. Signed to Blow Up Records in 2012, Daiquiri Fantomas breathes life into the most diverse sound architectures by boldly experimenting with acoustic instruments and vintage electronics crossed over with new technologies. Although the electronic side is strongly present, they don’t avoid some humour when needed, refusing the cliché that experimental music must be boring. Some of their musical influences include The Beatles, Robert Wyatt, Kraftwerk and Air.
The debut single, ‘Moon Raga‘, released in April 2013, has a colourful neo-psychedelic flavour, in which the mijwiz, a Mediterranean pipe, recalls Celtic bagpipes. It has been broadcasted by various US and European radio stations, including BBC Music 6 in the UK.
Their debut album, ‘MHz Invasion‘ is the result of Daiquiri Fantomas fresh approach to musical writing. All the material they recorded has been over-dubbed, recomposed, edited and blended through the band’s personal feeling: a multi-layered morphing sound, travelling between instrumental and vocal tracks.
The whole album has been performed, mixed and produced by the duo in Sicily, with additional mixing by Nick Terry at Malabar Studios in Oslo, and mastered by Nick Bennett at Revolution Mastering in London. The sleeve image of the album, shot by Claudia Arnold on the island of Lanzarote, reflects the musical lunar soundscape to be found within, and reminds of the Etna volcanic rocks.
The second single ‘Moogchile‘ has been described as “Air meets John Barry”.
Daiquiri Fantomas are full-time musicians. They first met in the ’90s, but they had almost never been playing together in a common musical project until 2010.
Dario works both in the classical and in the rock music field. He’s been keyboard, bass player and singer as well in several rock and jazz bands, while playing classic piano professionaly, beside organ and harpsichord in the field of ancient music. He’s very interested into improvisation and live film-scoring. He teaches in the Music State Conservatory of Messina.
Marco is an art-rock musician and composer. He’s been performing with various bands, mainly as lead singer, guitarist, bassist and synthesizer player. He’s very interested into soundtracks, sound recording/engineering, vintage electronic gear, homemade music instruments (and circuit-bending). He’s a psychedelic painter as well.
Duo siciliano di Avant-Pop sperimentale, fondato dai compositori e poli-strumentisti Marco Barrano e Dario Sanguedolce, Daiquiri Fantomas è un cocktail di idee dal sapore retro-futurista, che cita gli anni ‘60/70, e incorpora Prog, Electronica, colonne sonore di fantascienza, Kosmische Musik, così come musica etnica e antica, convergendo comunque verso sonorità contemporanee. Tra le loro fonti di ispirazione si trovano anche riferimenti a una cultura mediterranea e siciliana non convenzionale, così come una forte identità europea: il tutto stratificato in un personale caleidoscopio acustico.
La band, originaria di Caltagirone, è nata durante una jam session estiva, nel 2010. Sotto contratto con l’etichetta inglese Blow Up Records dal 2012, i Daiquiri Fantomas danno vita alle più disparate architetture sonore, attraverso una marcata sperimentazione con l’uso di strumenti acustici ed elettronici vintage, uniti alle nuove tecnologie. Benché l’elettronica sia molto presente, il duo non disdegna l’uso di un certo humour, a tratti, respingendo il cliché che la sperimentazione debba essere noiosa. Alcune delle loro influenze musicali sono Beatles, Robert Wyatt, Kraftwerk, Air.
Il singolo di debutto, “Moon Raga“, uscito nell’aprile 2013, ha un colorato sapore neo-psichedelico, in cui il mijwiz, un piffero mediterraneo, richiama le cornamuse celtiche. Il brano è stato trasmesso da diverse stazioni radio americane ed europee, tra cui BBC Music 6.
Il primo album, “MHz Invasion“, è il risultato del fresco approccio dei Daiquiri Fantomas con la scittura musicale. Tutto il materiale registrato è stato sovrainciso, ricomposto, montato e distillato attraverso la sensibilità della band: un multi-strato sonoro cangiante, che viaggia tra brani strumentali e cantati.
L’intero album è stato suonato, mixato e prodotto dal duo in Sicilia, con un missaggio addizionale di Nick Terry ai Malabar Studios di Oslo, e il mastering di Nick Bennett al Revolution Mastering di Londra.
L’immagine di copertina dell’album, scattata da Claudia Arnold sull’isola di Lanzarote, rispecchia il paesaggio musicale lunare del disco, e ricorda le rocce vulcaniche dell’Etna.
Il secondo singolo “Moogchile” è stato descritto come “gli Air incontrano John Barry”.
I Daiquiri Fantomas sono musicisti a tempo pieno. Si sono incontrati negli anni ’90, ma non avevano quasi mai suonato in un progetto musicale comune sino al 2010.
Dario opera sia nel campo della musica classica che in quello rock. Alle tastiere, basso e voce in diversi gruppi rock e jazz, e parallelamente pianista classico professionista, è attivo anche nell’ambito della musica antica, all’organo e al clavicembalo. Si interessa molto di improvvisazione e di sonorizzazione di film. Insegna al Conservatorio di Messina.
Marco è un musicista art-rock e compositore. Ha fatto parte di varie bands, principalmente come cantante solista, suonando anche chitarra, basso e sintetizzatore. Si interessa molto di colonne sonore, sound recording/engineering, elettronica vintage, strumenti musicali autocostruiti (e circuit-bending). È anche un pittore psichedelico.
Harlem Hipshake sees the welcome return of The Bongolian AKA multi-instrumentalist and Big Boss Man front man Nasser Bouzida. This, the sixth album under The Bongolian moniker, follows the highly acclaimed Moog Maximus.
Harlem Hipshake finds The Bongolian deeply immersed in his lifelong love for the music of the sixties New York’s Latin Soul scene, particularly the music of Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria and Joe Bataan. Principally a drummer, percussionist by trade, Nasser has once again delivered another set of heavy breaks and percussive grooves underpinning this brand-new collection of songs which he has written and produced. Whilst Nasser performs many of the instruments (as is usual with Bongolian albums) on the album, it also features a prominent use of additional UK musicians on brass duties. These include Terry Edwards (Trumpet, Trombone, Sax, Flute), Gareth James Bailey (Trombone) and Craig Crofton (Alto Sax), James Morton (Alto Sax), Andrew Ross (Tenor and Baritone sax) and Ralph Lamb (Trumpet).
From the East Side to the West Side, get ready for the Harlem Hipshake.
“the fabulously cool Harlem Hipshake is everything the title promises”. Shindig Magazine
I’m just loving this, so perfect, can’t stop playing it, just by listening to this makes you feel cooler.” Craig Charles (Funk & Soul Show BBC 6 Music)
“awesome album” Scootering Magazine
Back in 2001, Nasser Bouzida disappeared into his studio and created a solo set of recordings which resulted in the birth of his alter ego The Bongolian. Drawing on influences of Funk, Latin, Soul and Jazz, Nasser produced an inspired selection of recordings blending elements of grinding percussion and heavy Bongo rhythms. The eponymous debut ‘The Bongolian’ was released early in 2002 to much critical acclaim, and followed up by the albums ‘Blueprint’, ‘Outer Bongolia’ and ‘Bongos For Beatniks’ and Moog Maximus. The albums have become record box essentials for DJs, finding a wide appeal from Dance and Hip-Hop to Rare Groove and Funk 45s fans.
Nasser Bouzida is the leader and chief songwriter of Big Boss Man whose 4th album ‘Last Man On Earth’ which received strong support at BBC 6 Music (Cerys Mathews, Craig Charles, Gideon Coe, Nemone) with the band touring Europe extensively since its release. The Bongolian also collaborated with Fay Hallam for the album Lost In Sound (Fay Hallam & The Bongolian).
As part of Blow Up 25th anniversary celebrations Blow Up Records re-released a brand-new vinyl cut, as a limited 180g clear vinyl pressing of the classic third Bongolian album ‘Outer Bongolia’. The original vinyl pressing had long been long sold out and original copies were much sort after.
Selected quotes of releases from The Bongolian:
“It’s official. The Bongolian. My new favourite band. You heard it here first” Craig Charles, BBC 6 Music Funk & Soul Show
“A superb record” Nemone, BBC 6 Music (Moog Maximus)
“All I know is that it makes me want to dance” Craig Charles House Party (Radio 2)
“That is sheer musicality” Cerys Mathews BBC 6 Music
“Terrific stuff, that is” Gary Crowley BBC London
“Beautiful new breaks” Nemone BBC 6 Music “A brilliant, brilliant funk” Chris Hawkins BBC 6 Music (Googa Mama)
“Guaranteed to keep the party going” Vive Le Rock (Moog Maximus)
“This is the feel-good album. 9/10 ” Louder Than War (Moog Maximus)
“Forget your preconceptions, this is the REAL incredible bongo band.” CLASH Magazine
“Nasser Bouzida is a man with talent to spare. A Latin-flavoured jazz-funk odyssey” (Outer Bongolia) Q Magazine
“The UK’s premier exponent of bongo-driven freakbeat” PLAN B
“A beautifully well-rounded album. Gorgeously psychedelic.” SUBBA-CULTCHA
” Mightily funky, Hammond driven bongo rhythms… part mod, part Sergio Mendes, very swingin’…” TIME OUT
Hipper, groovier, and funkier than ever before! Imagine Booker T & The MGs, The Duke Of Burlington, and Alan Hawkshaw taking a trip to the stars” DUSTY GROOVE