Hard-to-find

Lung Buster

A couple or so years ago I found myself wading through the flotsam and jetsam of virtual music that lies like a nasty trip hazard on the Plain Or Pan doormat. All manner of Scandinavian thrash, whispering, sensitive acoustic troubadours, bedroom techno wizards, anarcho ska punk and identikit Oasis-lite tribute acts, heavy on attitude but not so much on actual songs were there, just waiting to trip me up. It’s great getting free music sent, but it’s even better when the music sent is exactly the kinda music you’d buy. One of the acts who escaped the recycle bin that day was WH Lung, a rather mysterious Manchester-based group of musicians who came out of the traps sounding like one of those mid 70s German bands that yer hip reviewers get themselves all in a lather over. Their track Inspiration ticked a lot of boxes and found its way onto here as a result.

WH LungInspiration

Played a gazillion times then filed away for future reference, I promptly lost sight of WH Lung and forgot all about them. Such is the way of things.

As if by magic, an email arrived last week heralding the return (for me) of the band. Headed ‘London Oslo Hackney‘, their press release was keen to point out the slow, considered, gestation period for their forthcoming album. Unlike other acts who receive a bit of favourable early press and rush-release their music as a result, WH Lung has taken the longer route, allowing the music to simmer and stew and flavour and ferment for the past 24 months. A tweak here, a re-touch there. The finished results are staggering.

Lead-off single (and free download, freeloaders!) Simpatico People continues the propulsive, linear, motoric groove that made such an impression back then.

10 minutes of whooshing synths and clean chiming guitars zooms past, the sound of Public Service Broadcasting going 15 rounds with LCD Soundsystem. When the vocals arrive, David Byrne and Reflektor-era Arcade Fire pops into the mix. This is proper joyous, hands-in-the-air celebratory music. The band may be out and about in the more intimate venues of the British Isles come May, but really, this is Saturday night on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury music.

The album that follows is just as forward-thinking, just as widescreen and just as good. When it escapes into the ether on 5th April, Incidental Music should by rights be a shoe-in as one of the albums of the year. Keyboard washes and sequenced synths conjure up Power, Corruption & Lies-era New Order. Guitars chime heavenwards. Tracks bleed into one another and the whole thing ebbs and flows and twists and turns. It’d make great cycling music. When the better weather comes in it’ll be soundtracking my gasping wheeze along the cycle-friendly routes of Ayrshire, that’s for sure. The beat is omni-present and relentless, perfect for pushing yourself to the limits. Extremely disciplined, there are no flash solos, no flourishes across the keys. It’s a heads-down and boogie album, no nonsense stuff from a band who are locked into one another’s groove. Classic stuff, in other words.

WH Lung are out and about in May;

11th May—Liverpool, The Shipping Forecast
13th May—Glasgow, The Garage (Attic Bar)
14th May—Nottingham, The Bodega
15th May—Brighton, Green Door Store
16th May—Bristol, The Louisiana
17th May—Southampton, Heartbreakers

The debut album – Incidental Music – follows on 5th April.

For what it’s worth, I reckon you’d like it a lot.

Get This!, Hard-to-find, Kraut-y, New! Now!

Crate Digging In The 21st Century

One of the benefits of being told to “take it easy, relax, do the things you like to do” is that I can find the time to plough through the plethora of music I’m sent on an almost daily basis. A lot of bloggers get real, actual things sent to them in the hope they’ll review them positively and give the company concerned a wee bit of cheap advertising. I wish! I never get anything physical sent my way, but I do get tons of links to Soundcloud, offers of free album downloads, Facebook friend requests and all manner of nice things written in the hope I’ll feature this band or that band on Plain Or Pan.

crate-dig-3

Just so you know, I listen to all my music on a 20 year-old Denon CD player, a near 30 year-old Dual CS 503-1 turntable, an iPod classic through a Bose SoundDock Series II (that won’t charge anymore) and via iTunes on my old steam-powered PC that’s on its very last legs. If anyone out there would like to send me some updated audio equipment, I’d be more than happy to upgrade my listening experience and pass on my positive thoughts to the tens of thousands who drop by here every week. You don’t ask, you don’t get, ‘n all that…

There’s a clue in the strapline up there – Outdated Music For Outdated People – that suggests I may tend to favour old(ish) music on here, and for a particular demographic (marketeers note – I speaka de lingo). Also, as anyone who’s a regular reader here will tell you, not only is the music of the more vintage bent, it’s also fairly easy to pigeonhole; some soul stuff, a whole load of what you’d call ‘indie’, and the occasional post featuring a classic artist, posted with fingers crossed that the DMCA don’t take offence to the embedded (not shared, note!) music file and send me one of their wee ‘take down’ requests. The curse of the music blogger, I get sent lots of them as well.

Despite the strapline and regular subject matter, I get all manner of rubbish sent my way. I’d like to think the folk sending me the links have read the blog, but clearly, these links have been whizzed my way by some misguided robot, lost in space and looking for any port in a storm. Belgian industrial techno. Wimpy, bed-wetting acoustic troubadours. The most derivative, Oasis-inspired tuneless rubbish. They all end up in Plain Or Pan’s inbox, looking for some love and attention.

crate-dig-1

Hello! I would love for you to listen to my clients latest album!

Client? Really?! And no apostrophe! Straight into the virtual bin.

Hey! I work with (band name held to protect the innocent) who I think would be perfect for your rad blog. They do old school glam rock and the lead singer is a daughter of GNR guitarist Gilby Clarke.

Eh. Bin.

Hi! Since I like what you do, I figured you might want to know what I do. I’m a DJ and I’m releasing a house EP…

Eh. Bin.

Hi Plain Or Pan! As a lover of classic rock, I thought you might enjoy the new single by (band name held to protect the innocent). With influences ranging from Whitesnake to Foreigner, they’d be a perfect feature on your cool blog.”

Eh. Bin.

Hey! I just put out my new song (title held to protect the innocent) yesterday and would luuuuuve to know what you think of it. This song is really important to me because of the message behind it…the best world is the one that you create for yourself.

Eh. Bin.

Hey Pain Or Pan! I can’t help but saying I’m a big fan of your blog….loving the features you’ve done. I’ve just put out my projects first single and waffle waffle waffle blah blah blah….”

Big fan. Pain Or Pan. Hee-hee. Projects? Really?! No apostrophe. Bin.

There’s millions more. Gazillions. It’s depressing. John Peel famously listened to everything sent his way, scared that he’d miss the next Velvet Underground or Bowie or Smiths or Half Man Half Biscuit if he ignored them. Not me. I’m happy still discovering the Velvet Underground and Bowie and Smiths and Half Man Half Biscuit. There’s no time for new stuff when there’s so much old stuff out there, waiting for reappraisal and higher status.

 crate-dig-2

That said….

…..the odd nugget does come my way.

Hi man – appreciate you usually work with tracks from ‘the golden age’ but came across your piece on TVAM. I saw him supporting Fews in London a little while back and was blown away, one of the most exciting live acts I’d seen in ages…

Anyway, as you were into him I thought you’d appreciate hearing W.H. Lung, a brand new band straight outta Manchester too with their debut single ‘Inspiration!‘, also taking influence from just the right side of East Germany.”

Great, innit? Takes all the right influences and makes it into a new thing. The singer reminds me of the guy from Flowered Up. They only have this one track online for now, but I’m keeping an eye out for anything else.

 

Keith Canisius lives in Copenhagen, Denmark. He blends shoegaze, dream pop, ambient and lo-fi using alternative production techniques. His new album is called ‘We Are The Dreamers‘. The first track is ‘Milky Way.”

Great, innit? Weird, wonky, other-worldly, it sounds exactly as you’d expect.

 

Max Norton is the drummer for Benjamin Booker. He is also a songwriter in his own right and observes stories through photographs and travelling the world. The sun, desert and 1960s inspire him. He is releasing his solo record, ‘Blood Moon‘ this year.”

Great, innit? Rootsy, tuneful, Fleet Foxes by way of Ryan Adams.

From the tons of emails, there’s three acts featured. I could probably feature another couple, but that’s for another time. There are plenty of great new bands out there. So, if you’re in one of them and you understand what Plain Or Pan is about, send some stuff to this here cool, rad blog. If it’s good it’ll feature here at some point. Until then, where did I put that Stax box set?