January 16, 2009

Today's Hotness: Johnny Foreigner, Gentle Friendly, Venice Is Sinking

Johnny Foreigner attacks
>> [IMAGE CREDIT: Lewes Herriot] We've acquired more information about those early Johnny Foreigner recordings we posted about here last week, straight from singer/guitarist Alexei Berrow and drummer Junior Laidley. The two emailed in details about founding bandmate Dan and the collection Weallleftyousleepingandgonenow, which is not imaginary as we had speculated. In fact, Weallleftyousleepingandgonenow contained 14 tracks and was released in a hyper-limited edition of 40 handmade copies sleeved in pictures of buildings from Johnny Foreigner's beloved hometown Birmingham, England folded together to form some sort of house. The collection was self-recorded and the songs have since been lost to the band due to hardware failures of one sort or another. All of which means that if you own one of these 40 physical copies of Weallleftyousleepingandgonenow, we know a guy in Boston who really wants to talk to you.

But anyway, back to Dan, whose last name we could not determine, but who is described by the Johnny Foreigner chaps as "ridiculously talented." Since leaving Johnny Foreigner -- to which he contributed keyboards, samples and guitar work -- Dan has been playing in the London-based bands Gentle Friendly and Buttonhead. If the name Gentle Friendly sounds familiar to you, it's because the Casio-and-samples-and-loops wielding duo -- which also includes a chap named David -- had a couple songs featured on the vowel-hating RCRDLBL music site last year. Gentle Friendly plan a full-length release this spring, and previously issued the EP Night Tape in November and a cassette titled Esses Together/Blast Debris (Debris From Blasts Had 1968 - 2008), which certainly sounds like an early Pavement title, doesn't it? The band has a handful of live appearances forthcoming with acts including Ponytail and Spectrum that you can review at its MySpace dojo here. Buttonhead is more guitar-based and structured, but equally eccentric; we'll try to devote some time to the quintet in the near future. Johnny Foreigner -- the current model, featuring Kelly Southern on bass -- for its part released the single "Lea Room" b/w "DJs Get Doubts" earlier this week in the UK on Best Before Records. We're working on an interview with the band, in which we hope to delve further into its plans to begin working on a new record in March.

Gentle Friendly -- "Five Girl Night" -- Night Tape EP
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[buy Gentle Friendly recordings from the band here]

>> Georgia-based Venice Is Sinking will release its forthcoming sophomore set AZAR March 31. As we wrote here last August, the five-year-old chamber-pop quintet began recording the collection in May 2007 and, after all was said and done, it ended up recording two separate long-players in different studios in Georgia and North Carolina. The second, non-AZAR set has yet to earn a title or release date, but do not forget that the band has it in its back pocket when it needs it. Venice Is Sinking issued its debut Sorry About The Flowers in 2006. In the meantime, the band is offering for free track two from the 11-song AZAR, "Ryan's Song," for free to the denizens of the Internet. The tune is bubbles with Duran Duran synth work but is kept suspended by cautious bass work and murmured vocals. It's quite a track. Here it is.

Venice Is Sinking -- "Ryan's Song" -- AZAR
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[watch the band's web site for pre-order details]

>> Mobius Band sent a brief missive with some live dates and a vague promise of "heading up to a completely empty house in the middle of nowhere this weekend to do some top secret recording." We're eager to hear more from these guys, whose 2007 release Heaven was one of our favorites of that year. The band plays D.C. tonight and New York's Bowery Ballroom Jan. 27. All of which reminds us that we saw something about Editors recently saying their new record will be a balance of guitars and synths, which sounds to us like a bit of touring with Mobius Band rubbing off on them. We'll see. Well, more likely, we'll hear. Hopefully it'll sound a bit like this:

Mobius Band -- "A Hint Of Blood" -- Heaven
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[buy Mobius Band records from Newbury Comics right here]

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