NEWS: Rob Heron EP release | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Although recent years have seen him swap spats for Clash t-shirts, local musician and DJ Rob Heron is still a man very much tuned into the rhythms and mores of the past. So while other artists are working on 90-minute isolationist concept albums during lockdown, Heron’s gone the other way. The Grundig Tapes Vol 1, just released on his Bandcamp page, saw him grapple with a 1960s Grundig tape machine, a 1950s Grundig microphone and songs written during The Awfulness but sprinkled with the dust of depression-era Oklahoma.

Inspired by Shetland country singer Thomas Fraser and using the same equipment, wrestling with microphone positions and domestic reverb, the four songs on the EP embody what Heron describes as the “homely and honest, no frills lifestyle”, much like people obsessing over their sourdough starters. Heron admits that the distinctly lo-fi sound of the recordings (think Smithsonian Folkways rather than Sebadoh) could sound harsh to modern ears, even after being mastered by Swedish specialist Anders Peterson. And the songs are great too – tackling the boredom of lockdown and what comes afterwards, the petty racism associated with St George’s Day and – typically for Heron – what happens when the booze runs out. All this plus yodelling and a kazoo solo!

The Grundig Tapes Vol 1 is available now via Bandcamp. Whether or not there’s a Grundig Tapes Vol 2 depends on the ‘R’ rate


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