mike davies december 2013


I’m no huge fan of live albums, but Taaga Revisited from DANGEROUS GIRLS is rather good, Recorded at their second reunion gig at the Hare & Hounds on Sept 5, it sees Mykocupa, Rob Peters, Micky Harris and Jake Simmons playing Taaga, originally released in 1979 as a live EP recording of a gig in Norwich, along with the tracks from the same show that never made it to the disc.

Opening with MO7S and winding up with the final encore of Sidekick Phenomena, the sound is excellent, everything clear and well differentiated, with between song interjections included. Tracks include Jump Up and Down, Sex, Safety In Numbers and Down On The File from the EP as well as set list staples Clinically Dead, Man In The Glass, I Don’t Want To Eat (With the Family). Assassination and, of course, Dangerous Girls itself with Mike giving a different explanation as to where the band name came from (their female sound engineer) than that otherwise documented (a line in a newspaper article. Not only are the band incredibly tight, the music reminds you what kindred spirits they were to PiL back then and makes you wonder why they never had quite the same acclaim. The album is available from


and the whole gig is also on YouTube.


Coming from around the Kinver area CLUTCHING AT STRAWS make an early bid to become one of the 2014’s most talked about names on the burgeoning contemporary folk rock circuit with self-released debut mini-album Come What May. Comprising James Wheeler (guitar, violin, mandolin), James Baskett (cello,bass), Thomas Simm (piano, guitar, uke) and Jake Mahal on percussion with all of them providing vocals, though Wheeler handles most leads, if you’re looking for easy pigeonholes then they’re probably somewhere between Boat To Row and the Mumfords (they do, after all, cover Little Lion Man in their live shows), but you might also throw in such comparisons as Oxford’s Dreaming Spires, Seth Lakeman and Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros.

The infectiously accessible rhythmically skittering title track (sung by the tremulous voiced Simm) has the hallmarks of a classic festival rouser while, the tempo shifting multi-harmony Forged Tales nods to trad folk and shanty influence and the no less catchy Look At You Now introduces rippling banjo (courtesy maestro Dan Shaw) to the mix with echoes of early Noah and the Whale.

The longest of the six tracks, vocals interleaved ballad The Price You Paid pulls things back to a simple acoustic guitar backing, Love Lost Sold staying in slower and moodier trad folk (and, with what sounds like cittern, slightly medieval territory) that hints at early Tull intermingled with Show of Hands. The yearningly lovely, gentle-clarinet laced Through Your Eyes closes an all too short set building from a nigh hymnal setting to a rousing singalong chorus that conjures visions of a field of swaying, waving arms. They deserve to be massive.


PEACE make their contribution to the festive season with a download cover of Wham’s Last Christmas, a little ragged perhaps but far preferable to Leona Lewis murdering I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day.

youth man

,A raucous trio lining up as Marcus Perks and Adam Haitof providing the jazz influenced rhythm section with Kaila Whyte on guitar and urgent shouty vocals, YOUTH MAN take cues from The Pixies, Sonic Youth and The Fall and tag themselves as afropunk, riotgrrl, and noise rock. Following on from the Youth EP earlier in the year, they now release a free download (but you can buy the physical version) of Bad Weather, a further five track EP of propulsive, jagged and jerky clattering numbers headed up by the punky Heavy Rain. Insipid adopts a similar approach but then, driven by a juddering bass line, Salt mixes up the headcharge with interludes of heavily intense and sepulchral Eastern European colours. Inshallah sees them reining in the tension with a doomy, sparse intro before exploding into fury while Wide Awake spends the early section of its five and half minutes showing they can do brooding atmospheric minimalism with Whyte modulating her vocals as the drum pattern builds and, as the guitar and bass appear, the track opens out into heavy marching progressive space rock. A very interesting outfit who, you suspect, have a very interesting future ahead of them.

roots-and-branches.com 2014