LUCKY 7 is the feature where we ask artists to name their 6 favourite songs by others, and a lucky 7th song of their own…today it’s a band I’ve had my eye and ear on for ages, but only just got my act together to get on these pages, prompted by my recent reading of JR Moores’ excellent “Electric Wizards” book and the recent action pics on social meeja documenting their support of Lightning Bolt during this recent hot spell, but also the frankly hilarious chat about wearing shorts on stage between Pigs x7, Hey Colossus and our guests, the joyfully noisy (and most welcome to Velvet Sheep) Sly & The Family Drone!
The timing is most fortuitous it transpires, since this compelling Lucky 7 lands mid-UK tour too, see the flyer below…
I love the cacophonous racket that S&TFD create, but I haven’t yet been able to catch them live, which seems like the optimal setting.
I once saw Earth play Upstairs at the Garage where they left guitars caterwauling against amps only to be then picked up and rinsed by members of the audience. By all accounts according to Moores and other eye witnesses Sly & The Family Drone show ups this ante further and can end with members of the audience being handed a plethora of percussive instruments to participate in the sonic mayhem until it reaches a level of sheer cataclysm. Having witnessed the likes of Earth and Yamatsuka Eye shrieking into a mic hanging from a piece of sectional ceiling (hey sounds like a Marvin Gaye song) I need to add this tasty lot to my gig bucket meal list.
But what do the band feast their ears on when they’re not creating similarly Dadaist rock – let’s crack on and find out eh? Starting with:
James Allsopp, baritone
1. Althiery Dorival – Si’m Fe Ou Bagay
‘I’ve been enjoying a lot of music from Haiti this summer and this is one of my favourite tracks.
I really like the swing of it, how the parts move and stretch together – And the singing is beautiful!”
Kaz Buckland, Drums & Electronics
2. Orville Peck – Daytona Sand
‘I haaate explaining why I like things. Strips a little of the joy away from it. Buuut I’ve been listening to lots of country music lately. But only very specific things. Orville Peck has been a real favourite. I like the steady build, the powerful gallop, and the story telling. I also love a man in a mask. Keepin’ country mysterious.’
Ed Dudley – Electronics/Voice
3. Klahrk & KAVARI – Wax (album – ‘choose one I guess’)
‘Basically: been listening to a load of claustrophobic electronic music to take my mind off the heat. This is a banger. Mint is what it is.’
Will Glaser – Drums
4. Abdul Wadud – Happiness
‘I’ve been revisiting this record after Wadud passed away in early August… First heard this record at the beginning of lockdown and it blew me away… Amazing sounds, amazing improvising and heaps of humanity. A special musician.’
Matt Cargill – Electronics/percussion
5. Patrick Shiroishi – Above The Black Heaven Is Endless
‘I’ve been loving Patrick’s incredibly vast back catalogue recently. At times noisy, abrasive and heavily distorted but with beautifully effected vocalisations, I found this EP really moving. I hope to see him perform one day. If any promoters wanna hook us up, make it happen!’
6. Sheila Stewart – The Parting Glass
‘Some of my favourite performances recently have been unaccompanied vocal folk singing. I stumbled across Shovel Dance Collective performing in the courtyard at Supersonic and again at midnight around the (digital) campfire at Supernormal. Their presentation of authentic, trad working class songs of struggle and hopefulness are so beautiful and have been absolutely joyful in these awful times. They do a fantastic version of Thousands Or More by the Copper Family. Shovels said that number is like an English version of the Parting Glass, which holds a dear place in my heart. Every time I hear Sheila Stewart sing it gives me goosebumps and brings me close to tears. The lyrics in particular are amazing, and the sentiment quite similar and resonate with me and how I feel about friendship, music, touring and essentially the folk tradition.
‘Let’s drink and be merry, all grief to refrain, For we may or might never all meet here again’.’
The Lucky 7th: Sly & The Family Drone – Shrieking Grief
‘This number feels like a single, it could work as a standalone rinsing 3 and a half minute banger but probably wouldn’t get any radio play. I think it came about when we were doing the album session and we went back and learned how to play it live and then work it into sets, but the nature of our improvising means it always feels different.
I’m really pleased with the whole LP really and how it works as a complete record. Thanks to Al Bonney helping smash it into shape. Shrieking Grief is named after a Stewart Lee bit (of course).’
THANKS SO MUCH TO MATT & THE BAND
You can catch Sly & The Family Drone on tour right now…
SAT 27 – Zorro Festival, LaVallee BRUSSELS
SUN 28th Aug – Zoomerparkfeest, VENLO, NETHERLANDS with Dead Neanderthals & Colin Webster
(All dates with STEF KETT (of Reciprocate/formerly Shield Your Eyes)
WEDS 31 – Wedgewood Rooms, PORTSMOUTH
THURS 1 – Portland Arms, CAMBRIDGE
FRI 2 – The Station, KINGS HEATH, BIRMINGHAM
SAT 3 – Kirkgate Centre, SHIPLEY
Check out “Walk It Dry” by Sly & The Family Drone on Bandcamp now…
and here’s all the other records: