Six Of The Best: The Support Band | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Chris Riley of local rock n rollers The False Poets and noise artist Whitevanperil (WVP) join forces to create a new musical entity, The Support Band. They release their new EP, Oceans Of The Moon, a spacious, cinematic indie/prog offering, which sees the tracks seamlessly blended for a more immersive listening experience.

The duo tell us here of some of their influences via a six of the best…

Chris: The Famous Jug Band –  A Leaf Must Fall
Despite our proggy, spacey leanings, we’re big fans of folk music in the Support Band and this song is a great example of how fine it can be. Briefly running in the late 60s and early 70s, The Famous Jug Band were born of the Cornish folk scene, which Clive Palmer of the band described as being like Heaven at that time. A Leaf Must Fall is the stand-out track from their debut album Sunshine Possibilities. Jill Johnson’s vocal is perfect, backed by two guitars. I don’t think it’s on Spotify, but someone’s uploaded it to YouTube if you want to check it out.

WVP: Merzbow unlabelled cassette (1993)
I’ve no idea now who actually gave me this cassette, I just remember it being passed to me in college sometime in 1993. Home recorded onto an old TDK 90 cassette it just had a photocopy image stuck to the box of some sort of black… shape. No words. The music was like nothing I had heard before, at first just noise but something drew me in to just keep listening as if unsure if it was a real thing. I loved it. It abused my ears as much as I sadly abused the tape as a few years later, it turned to a twisted mess. Quite a suitable end to its use I feel. I did though discover the artist, it was Merzbow and the music was a randomly edited collection from an album called ‘Metalvelodrome (Exposition Of Electro-Vivisection)’. I was never the same again, it was like a secret music, private and made to listen to alone, in the dark. A year or so later, I picked up more by Merzbow and love it all to this day, becoming quite an influence on my solo work. But that old TDK cassette was my gateway drug into a whole world of noise and creativity. Still, I have no idea who gave it to me.

Chris: Pink Floyd – The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
If I had to pick one album to listen to until the end of my days it would be the Floyd’s debut. Pete Townshend said he was disappointed that it did not reflect their live performances so much and was more of a pop record than it should have been, but I don’t know about that. To me the sounds are really evocative and inventive from the cat-like sounds of the guitar on Lucifer Sam to the dislocation of Interstellar Overdrive. Syd Barrett’s sister Rosemary said it will be fresh in a hundred years’ time and she’s absolutely right about that.

WVP: Frightened (Track by The Fall from the album Live At The Witch Trials 1979)
I always wish I’d been in The Fall. No idea what I’d be doing as my musical ability is debatable. I’m 100% sure Mark E Smith would have hated me. This song is a pretty hateful rant against life, people, time and quite possibly the most beautiful song I have ever heard. Track 1 on their debut album, they really could have just stopped here and still been one of the most important British bands of all time. It has everything, sounding like some perverted children’s song, guitar running all over it like a train and the words, almost spat out like it is his final words, his swan song. Again, Track 1 on the debut album in 1979. The Fall never sounded better than this as they didn’t need too, the template was set in place. All the 80s – 90s indie bands made a good living from trying to sound like this. No one got close. “Cause I’m in a trance, and I sweat, I don’t want to dance, I want to go home”, indeed.

Chris: Pennies From Heaven (BBC TV)
I’d just like to take this opportunity to encourage people to watch this, if they haven’t done so already. I’m not sure if it’s on any streaming services. I got the DVDs from eBay for less than a fiver. From 1978, this series announced Bob Hoskins as a top actor. He plays the part of a hopelessly flawed sheet music salesman in 1930s Britain. It consists of six feature length episodes. It starts off brilliantly and doesn’t let up. The acting is great and the writing is first class. There isn’t a wasted line. It’s a funny, tragic, life-affirming Dennis Potter master-class.

WVP: ‘England’s Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock’ By Jon Savage (Faber and Faber, 1991)
I missed punk, being born in 1972 I was too busy with my Lego. Late to the party, I did all I could to submerge myself in anything I could find during my teens and later. This book, ‘England’s Dreaming’ was like a bible, (Along with ’12 Days on the Road: The Sex Pistols and America’ by Noel E. Monk), full of all the important facts, moments and artifacts of the movement. I loved it, I loved it all. It still felt close but was far enough away to have the air of another time and place. Before the likes of Google, the lists of books, magazines, records here were like maps in the library and second-hand record shops around Newcastle. I’d start to read up on Guy Debord and his work with ‘Situationist International’, pick up records by ‘The New York Dolls’ & ‘The Ramones’. Reading back now, it’s interesting where my interest is drawn too. Then, it was all about ‘The Sex Pistols’ but now, the gloss has faded and really anything about ‘The Clash’ stands out, never ones to stand still, they shot out of punk and kept running, evolving, inspiring. If this book taught me anything, it is that you only ever need to learn three chords on guitar. Maybe one day, I will.

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