Category Archives: Musical Projects

Julia Brightly

I wrote this piece to commemorate our work with Julia as a producer.

Terrible shock. We won’t forget her.

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Making music

I barely find the time to make music these days, which seems a shame.  The last couple of nights I’ve been able to dig in and lay down a bit of guitar and glockenspiel, which has been nice.

There will be a Misty Roses show in London in June to celebrate the release of our new 7″ single.   Hopefully we can preview some new material too.

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Sorry things have petered out slightly over here. I’ve actually been buying as much music as ever – thanks to an increase in disposable income and the proximity of my current contracting job to a very good and inexpensive record shop (Fopp near Leicester Square in London). But the volume of work has really mushroomed; sorry about that… I will be back.

Another consequence of working a lot is that it may have broadened my taste somewhat. I picked up 2 different compilations of 80s ‘indiepop’ (formally known as ‘indie’) and ‘post-punk’ very cheaply at the aforementoned shop. Both were put together by Rough Trade shops. Not surprisingly, I got very into lots of the tracks on the ‘indiepop’ one, revisiting my days as a jangly guitar loving 15 year old. The post punk one did slightly less for me – some of these ‘classic’ songs seemed very stiff and serious and unplayful to me. There were some corkers though, such as ‘Georges V’ by Les Georges Leningrad, which is available to download here. Totally ridulous and mental unmusical indescribable nonsense. What has happened to me?! I also dug up Sonic Youth’s ‘goo’, just to hear the hopeless screaming on ‘Mildred Pierce’.

But don’t worry, I’m still listening to more Bacharach/Morricone etc than is healthy.

Misty Roses are out on the road starting June 1st. I’ve been practicing hard and am looking forward to it. Hopefully see some people there. Patrick Wolf who we’re supporting is pretty cool too!

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I made a record!

Misty Roses: Komodo Dragons
I’m delighted to announce that the debut Misty Roses album, Komodo Dragons has now been released. We finished initial work on the record in May 2003, back when I was still living in the US, but unsurprisingly, actually releasing the record took a little longer. The album available to buy now from the Frog Man Jake shop, and will soon be available in selected stores in the US and UK. I put a lot of work into this, so it would really be a nice gesture if you could buy a copy! As well as 9 studio tracks, the album includes some fantastic and exclusive remixes by LuxuriaMusic, Ursula 1000, San Serac and Lumen.

We will be going on tour with San Serac around the North-East of the USA to promote the album, and to promote San Serac’s excellent Ice Age. The tour starts on September 30th. We’re playing a couple of dates in NYC, plus Providence, Chicago, Western Mass., Baltimore and Philadelphia. Full details of the tour are available on the Frog Man Jake Misty Roses page. We’ve been working hard in preparation, and will introduce some new songs as well as some interesting cover versions. So please come along if you’re in the area! For the final Philadelphia date, there’s the added bonus of hearing Don Miller, creator of Balansamba DJing! We hope to tour the rest of the US before too long, as well as some European dates.

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NYC and let’s waste some money part 1,018

Why the long absence? Well, I guess I just drift away sometimes.

We had an enjoyable trip to NYC, via Iceland. I bought records in both places. Finding records in Reykjavik was no easy task, but luckily we were there on a Saturday, which is the day they have a (reasonably) big fleamarket. Most of the records there were Danish or American, but I did find a surprisingly cool Icelandic psych-rock 45 from 1970. It’s not often that something bought completely blind for the sake of it turns out to be good, so I was pleased!

I didn’t go too crazy with record shopping in NYC, but couldn’t resist trips to my old haunts Academy Records (both the CD store on W18th St and the record store on E10th St) and the markets at Chelsea (lots of amazing records for $1. I couldn’t buy too many, but I wish I still lived nearby!).

Mostly the trip was spent wandering around in the heat, feeling a little strange to be on holiday in a place I know so well. Misty Roses played a show at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, and it went very well.

Music-wise I’ve mostly been immersing myself in an enormous collection of Brazilian music passed onto me by Diego. Oh, and I bought an iPod mini. I think perhaps the whole iPod thing is over-rated, but I figured I’d give it a go. So far I think it’s pretty nice. But while it’s certainly light enough to carry, I haven’t really been taking it around with me. I guess I’m scared of getting it stolen. Possibly not the best use of money ever for me…

Weekly hitlists will resume soon I hope.

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Two Zombies Later

Otis‘s compilation Two Zombies Later is now live, featuring music performed by members of the exotica list, including Misty Roses (featuring me and the mighty Robert Conroy). It’s available for free download, and I have to say it’s really pretty impressive.

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Yet another Ennio Morricone remix project is out, this time from Compost records. I hope it will be good, but I have a feeling I’m more into their reissues than their new stuff. Still, there are some excellent track choices, so you never know… The new Mondo Morricone compilation has been released, and the earlier ones re-released, by Cinesoundz. They seem to have redesigned the covers, which amazes me, since the original designs, by Stefan Kassel, are just about the best CD covers I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure if he did the new ones as well; the release seems to be a joint one with Royal Ear Force, a label founded by the excellent Stereo Deluxe.

In other news, we got one of our first reviews the other day at Score Baby!. He seems to quite like the record, which is cool.

I also read this interesting story about the resurgence of big bands in Taiwan.

Danny Guglielmi and Dena: 'Adventure in Sound' (LP; TOPS; 1955)
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A great album. Kind of a Les Paul/Mary Ford knockoff, but with a charm all of its own. It features early multitrack taping techniques, interesting sound effects, and ethereal vocals.

I know that a campaign was underway to have this album reissued, but sadly I don't think it came to fruition. Classic 50s cover that almost mirrors Alvino Rey's My Reverie.

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New Look

I hope you dig the new design. Does it look ok on a mac? Seems fine in Mozilla/IE on a PC.

I’ve been busy preparing for the Misty Roses show on Wednesday at Galapagos.

I’m still enjoying my emusic subscription, to the extent that it has probably been 2 weeks since I bought a CD. The service is occasionally down, and I can’t help feeling that their site is deliberately slow and hard to navigate, in order to stop people finding and downloading too much music. However, I managed to find Del-Fi in their list of labels, which is great news. Between Fantasy, Stax, Verve and Del-Fi, that’s a lot of good music.

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Fab Gear

It has been too long. I have been kind of busy. I was over in the UK this weekend for a family get-together, which was fun. NYC feels like the North Pole by comparison.

Anyway, Nancy Sinatra was really not a good show. Sorry Nancy. Don’t get me wrong – she can still sing really well, but her band were very rocky in an eighties way that I found very naff. Most of the crowd didn’t seem to care, but as a big fan of the 60s/70s production on most of her work, the Guns and Roses style licks didn’t sit well with me. The best moment of the night was a montage of Nancy’s film appearances. None of this was helped by the venue, BB King’s Blues Bar, a touristy spot in midtown. Because of where I was sitting (at the edge, on the side), wait staff walked in front of me, obscuring my view, literally 2 or 3 times a minute. I was a little pissed.

I bought an mp3 player. It turned out that for my requirements (a large hard drive, and the ability to record onto it), I had a choice of exactly one item. So, I bought it, along with some nicer headphones (no, I don’t always shop at amazon, but they were pretty good for these items). I’m very pleased with it so far. It’s a geeky, ugly little thing, which connects at high speed to my computer via USB 2.0. I was glad that mine came in black and silver, rather than the bright blue and silver advertised. Ok, it’s still ugly. But, it can operate as an extra hard drive, which is pretty cool (in fact, it’s a bigger hard drive than the one on my computer at home). My only problem with it is that there’s no ‘Record’ button. This means that in order to record (there’s a built in microphone), you have to scroll through some menus. Not very handy for spontaneous moments. But overall it’s pretty good. I was extra-pleased, because Amazon put the price up quite a bit after I ordered it.

To go with my mp3 player, I also bought a 3-month subscription to emusic. Although there was one day when it didn’t work, I’m pretty pleased with it overall. It’s a shame the mp3s aren’t of a higher quality (they’re 128 kbps), but there is a remarkable volume of great Jazz and Soul stuff on there (from verve, fantasy, stax) – the kind of stuff that would cost pretty much full price even if you were able to find it used on CD. So, it’s well worth checking out. As an extra incentive, they also have a huge amount of Ennio Morricone stuff on there.

Not much else is new. Misty Roses played a show at Rififi. We have another at Galapagos on March 12th. I’m thinking of going to see Sigur Ros at Radio City Music Hall. This will mean that I only go to see Icelandic artists there. Aston Villa lost the Birmingham derby in abysmal fashion. Life goes on…

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Live Show

Not much is new, although I should really stop buying CDs. Misty Roses will be playing a show next Friday, February 21st, at 8pm at Cinema Classics with San Serac. Do come along.

Compilation - Wes Montgomery: 'Talkin' Verve' (CD; Verve; 1964-1966)
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This is a nice compilation. My Wes Montgomery collection is rather sparse. It's not that I don't like him. in fact, I think a lot of his stuff is pretty cool. I think it's just that there's so much of it out there that it's hard to know what to buy. I have one A&M album on vinyl, A day in the life, which I really like, but the other late album I have, Road song, is a little shmaltzy for me.

This collection contains material that is exclusively from 1964 to 1966, and on this evidence, it sounds like this was a very strong period for Montgomery.

The arrangers are all top class: Johnny Pate, Don Sebesky, Claus Ogerman (only one track, alas!), and Oliver Nelson. The musicians are also excellent, including Ray Barretto, Grady Tate, and Ron Carter.

Almost all the tracks are nicely recorded, fairly poppy instrumentals with a gentle groove. To me, one track really stands out, and that's '13 (aka death march)', composed by my hero Gary McFarland. It features Jimmy Smith on organ, and has a great cinematic feel (not surprising, since the original tune is from a soundtrack), and great use of percussion that gives it a very cool and slightly funky feel, kind of like Lalo Schifrin.

For me, other highlights include 'sunny', 'tequila' (I admit it, I like pretty much all the tracks on which Ray Barretto plays the conga) and 'Bumpin' on sunset' (with Ogerman's shimmering strings). But there really isn't a bad track among the 16 here, and it's well worth picking up the disc if you see it at a good price.

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