AIN’T NO JOKE: Real Gone Sampler #9

A yearly tradition, the Real Gone Sampler is one of the most popular things in our calendar. In previous years, we’ve given away great music by Kurt Baker, The 1957 Tail Fin Fiasco and Black Moth. Every year, the project rounds up the very best in DIY acts and aims to get great music out to a new audience.

On occasion, we’ve even been lucky enough to give you two end of year samplers. This year, the download is only one disc long, but we bring you over seventy minutes of underground sounds. We’ve got dream pop, shoegaze, roots rock, garage rock, singer songwriters and a whole bunch more. It could just be the best Real Gone freebie to date.

As always, reviews for each album can be found behind the band name links.

Sleeve art designed by Elena Barrio.

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THE RAFT – Orion EP

There have been several albums and EPs released by The Raft since 2003, but few have sounded quite as much like a glorious love letter to the 90s as 2017’s ‘Orion EP’. Its four songs of haze and jangle pull influences from the usual suspects in shoegaze and dreampop – you’ll hear a dose of The Cranes here; a pinch of The Sundays there – but no matter what the ingredients, this musical recipe serves up a consistently feel good sound.

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Both Sides of The Sky: More unreleased Hendrix material to be released in March ’18

Another new compilation of material authorised by the Hendrix Family estate will be released in the first quarter of the new year.

Following 2016’s ‘Machine Gun’, a live set which made the whole of the Band of Gypsys’ early Fillmore show available for the first time, ‘Both Sides of the Sky’ concentrates on the Gypsys line up in the studio.  The new release features thirteen tracks, ten of which will are previously unreleased.  Among the highlights is an early take of ‘Angel’ (then still provisionally titled ‘Sweet Angel’) recorded in January 1968.

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REAL GONE GOES OUT: Saint Etienne – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 9/12/2017

It’s approximately 9pm on a very cold December night. It’s freezing outside and also decidedly chilly inside the Shepherd’s Bush Empire. The audience are shuffling around with a casual indifference. We’ve all just been bored to tears by the night’s support act, The Clientele, who appear to have played the same bland dreampop/indie tune ten or eleven times. Judging by the lack of atmosphere on stage and the rambling tunes punctuated by the occasional monosyllabic “thanks…”, the performers seemed just as as bored by their own music. [In retrospect, while they were devastatingly dull, it was easy to see why they were chosen. They weren’t the worst support act ever – that honour will forever be owned by Patrik Fitzgerald – they were just very boring.]

Saint Etienne are about to take the stage, though, so surely things are about to get much better. The minutes pass and a selection of kitschy tunes – almost certainly curated by Saint Et’s own pop historian Bob Stanley – fills time. As it happens, this is all more entertaining than The Clientele. and worthy of an easily accessible Spotify playlist. Saint Etienne founders, Bob Stanley and Pete Wiggs, along with various other musicians, eventually saunter on stage at a rather casual 9:25, followed by vocalist Sarah Cracknell.

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CLIMBING ALICE – Living EP

At the beginning of 2016, Wakefield’s Climbing Alice sounded like a force to be reckoned with on their ‘Melt Yourself Up‘ EP. Mixing alt-rock, goth and shoegaze noises, the four piece band created a great listen via a wealth of influences. There wasn’t so much in the way of immediate hooks or catchy melodies, but if it were a riff or six you craved, the EP – and band – came up winning pretty much every time.

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