By Diana Collier on 06/04/16 | Category - Reviews

Library of Aethers Album of the Month April 2016.

The Weight of Care - Jason Steel.

‘Just as Durer drew the hare, I was drawn to you’ begins the opening track of this beguiling piece, minimally sketched with voice and banjo, and so sets the tone for this album, of quality and understated beauty.'

Steel plays guitar and banjo throughout, with nods to American primitive players such as Fahey, Old Time American music and Country Blues players such as Dock Boggs, but remains very much himself throughout.



Each song is a favourite: ‘The Feast’, its darkness tempered by the final ‘I felt myself a spin a record on the platter, and the sorrows of this world, they simply ceased to matter.’ ‘The Glass Case’ which tempts us with of all the precious things which we cannot hold -‘The light of the moon, my first lover’s grace, your good, true heart.’, Song for Turning, documenting, so delicately, the waxing and waning of a relationship, with its heart breaking melody, and’ Vaso Slide’, a joyfully delivered bottleneck style guitar tune, with its cheeky lyric.

Like all good artists Steel is constantly moving forward, his new stylings being more experimental, but equally compelling. Let’s hope these new sounds are captured for posterity.

You can catch Jason Steel live at TAP in Westcliff on Sea on April 30th 2016 at the ‘Library of Aethers presents…..’ event.


By Mark Lancaster on 19/03/16 | Category - Reviews

Renowned for their excellent live events where they mix electric performances with jugglers, fire-eaters, stilt walkers and outlandish costumes, this is Primo Nelson's second album. The first impression 'Future Tourist' gives you is just how the band have moved on from debut release 'For Funk Sake'. The arrangements are more complex and the production is punchier and with songs like the excellent jazz funk groove 'Nightvision' the band show that they can tackle more than just in your face funk. 

Live favourites 'Squeeze', 'Pinch' and 'Jack Off Jazz' are included in a 12 song set that captures perfectly their exuberance and wit. The musicianship is, as expected, excellent with some great solos from saxophonist Gary Hamilton and trumpet player  Bradley Walsh. Front man Dave Ambrose excels on the aforementioned Nightvision and 'Squeeze' and backing singers Lisa Martin and Debbie Taylor are given the chance to shine on 'Formula X'. 'Pet Humanoid' comes straight out of the Acid Jazz stable and 'Jazz House' features rapper Marcus Pinnock (aka MarkyOnly) to excellent effect. This is a damn good album and I hear on the grapevine that the third album is already written. On the strength of 'Future Tourist' I can't wait to hear it. 

The album is being launched at Primo Nelson's Space Funk and Soul Circus at Chinnery's in Southend on 19th March and will be available via the band, local record shops and at their live events. Check for further details. 


By Diana Collier on 10/03/16 | Category - Reviews

‘Ghosts’ by the English Acoustic Collective.




Released way back in 2004 this album by The English Acoustic Collective comprising the talents of John Dipper, Robert Harbron and Chris Wood is a sublime treat.

The opening track ‘Copernicus’ written by Robert Harbron, is to me a transcendental track, being one of the most beautifully arranged tunes I have ever heard. The feel on this record is of folk tunes giving an informal nod to early music, as though that form were set free in a rangy and heartfelt manner, and this is not heard only on Copernicus, but throughout the recording.

A mixture of traditional and self- penned tracks make up the whole, with the delicacy of the playing sometimes giving way to robust tunes such Swap Your Love sung in Chris Woods earthy tones.

A beautiful song heralding the spring ,‘Bleary Winter’ showcases the thoughtful and restrained arrangements, each player knowing how much is enough.

I don’t know for sure, but I think I can hear the echoes of this recording in the playing of other great folk musicians such as Sam Sweeney, so I think I may not be alone in my championing of this album.

By Diana Collier on 05/02/16 | Category - Reviews

 With Wolves The Lambs Will Lie - MG Boulter

In our little corner of South East Essex we have long understood the worth of MG Boulter and his music, but now it seems, at last, more and more people are taking notice.

Boulter’s second solo album ‘With Wolves the Lambs will Lie’ has attracted praise far and wide, from national papers to specialist music publications, and deservedly so.

Boulter creates intricate tales; woven with compassion and the threads of simple, particular, observation. His songs are stories which gently beckon you in.

We are drawn further in by such as the delicate melodies of Someday the Waves, through to the gentle undulations of Brother Uncles, and the robust stylings of This is the Last Song. Amongst other notable contributors, Toby Kearney adorns several of the tracks with his subtle use of vibraphone; adding a dreamy quality to the sound, and Lucy Farrell works her magic with beautiful harmonies and fiddle playing. There is an honesty and lack of ostentation which means that this album will quietly become a lasting treasure.

‘With Wolves the Lambs Will Lie’ is released on Harbour Song records in February 2016.


Cover artwork is by Mickey Denny. 



By Mark Lancaster on 21/03/15 | Category - Reviews

I have always been a huge fan of Corduroy and along with Piley from Podrophenia attended many of their gigs back in the 1990's at the height of the Acid Jazz scene. In fact we were at their very first official gig. That was 20 years ago and these days Corduroy reform for the odd gig now and again. Piley, Mondo and I had attended their London show in December last year so when a follow up was announced we had no hesitation in procuring tickets. Joining us were Mrs Mondo, Carl from Southend and John who unfortunately for him, has to live in Kent. 

Before the show I was twice mistakenly identified as a member of the band. "What time are you going on mate?" I was asked. The first time I thought I'd misheard but then a guy from the same table collared me and it took me some convincing to assure him I wasn't and have never been a member of the band. They had seen me chatting to both Scott and Ben Addison prior to the gig and just assumed I was a member. It is the first time in my nearly 50 years on this planet that I have ever been thought of as a rock star. I quite liked my 10 seconds in the limelight. 

Corduroy hit the stage at about 9 o'clock and treated us to the very best of their back catalogue. Kicking off with a blistering 'High Havoc' and 'E-Type', which was dedicated to,amongst others 'The Ship Full Of Bombs Crew' we then had as Ben puts it a couple of 'singy ones' with 'The Frighteners' and 'Don't Wait Til Monday'. 

The Corduroy crowd loved every minute of it singing along with the 'Ba-ba ba ba ba's' during 'Skirt Alert' and 'London, England' and dancing to every tune. The band themselves always seem to be having as much fun as the audience with plenty of banter and amazing musicianship. Richard Searle is undoubtedly one of the best funky bass players about and with Ben Addison laying down the drums and Simon Nelson-Smith's jazzy guitar licks augmenting Scott Addison's excellent keyboard work a Corduroy gig at  the end of the day is all about the music. They are in my opinion better now than they were back in the 90's  (and they were brilliant then) and it is a really pleasure to see a band so tight and at ease with each other on stage.

A special mention does have to go out to a Facebook group that Piley, Mondo and I, along with members of the band belong to called 'The Funk Pen'.There were a good few members in the audience and we wore out badges with pride. 

Ben dedicated 'Corduroy Orgasm Club' to The Pen and especially to its founder Nathan Pendlebury from Liverpool who unfortunately couldn't attend the gig last night. It was a lovely touch from a band who really do engage with their fans. The boys encored with a cover of Motorhead''Motorhead' and finished with Electric Soup with Ben urging people to film it for Nathan. 

A great show, and amazing buzz and a tip-top night out. Can't wait for the next one. 


By Mark Lancaster on 14/03/15 | Category - Reviews

Sleaford Mods are something of a phenomenon. Despite almost total lack of airplay on mainstream radio, due to their, ahem, somewhat fruity lyrical content, the duo have enjoyed near sell-out shows across the country. So when a show was announced at The Arts Centre in Colchester (surely one of the prettiest venues in the county) and already owning a couple of albums by them a couple of friends joined me for  the short jaunt up the A12 to check them out.

After a support slot from a band so awful I failed to even register their name Sleaford Mods took the stage and with Andrew Fearn dropping the beats and Jason Williamson's opening salvo of expletives we were off.

The energy produced on stage from just a duo is electric. Williamson prowls the stage like a caged panther. This is not a laddish strut like your Gallagher's or Brown's but one that stems from unbridled anger at the world. Jobseeker's Allowance, UKIP, middle-class anarchists with dogs on a piece of string and their manager all get a tongue lashing. Williamson confronts the microphone like he is just about to lay it out with one punch as spits out the lyrics and his prowling visibly keeps the anger brewing. This is visceral, this is meant, this is his life. Meanwhile the minimalist beats drive the narrative along and the Arts Centre bounces, punches the air and laughs at the more outlandish couplets. 

Favourites Fizzy, Tied Up In Nottz, The Corgi, Tiswas and Tweet, Tweet, Tweet are covered and after an hour and 3 encores they are off and the room can gain some equilibrium again. After he has come down from the roof  a visibly drained Williamson, sweat stained and swigging a well earned pint  helps out on the merchandise stall signing records, cd's and tee shirts and chats amicably with fans. I asked him how he maintains his anger throughout the gig. "I don't f***ing know mate. It's not f***ing good for you though." is his replied. All he knows is that at 46 years old he has to vent it somewhere and on stage is a good a place as any. 

This was genuinely one of the best gigs I have been to over the last few years and if you get the chance and aren't of a nervous disposition I thoroughly recommend seeing Sleaford Mods. It is a roller coaster and well worth the entrance fee. 




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