howff /haʊf/. A favourite meeting place or haunt, especially a pub.
Welcome to the Howff, Bella’s boozer for the cultural void and your lounge for the lockdown. We are featuring and promoting artists and musicians who are now gigless cos of da virus as everyone tries to move live events online and survive the domestic incarceration.
Support artists and get some new sounds.
We start with a brand new six-track EP by Roddy Woomble from Idlewild who tells Bella: “It’s a mix of poetry and music – a collaboration between myself and musicians Andrew Mitchell and Oliver Coates. I guess it’s much more ambient and minimal than what people expect from me, and generally I’m speaking instead of singing, although I wouldn’t call it spoken word”.
Buy the beautiful Everyday Sun here.
Next up from Roddy’s Iona lockdown is the awesome Lauren MacColl with her new album LANDSKEIN …
“The title LANDSKEIN suggests a thread or yarn in which the lifelines of a landscape, people, stories and memories are richly intertwined. The central thread traces the lifeline of MacColl herself, making her homeward journey to the Highlands, finding her place, awakening her senses in the hills and reconnecting with the taproot of the tradition that nurtured her.”
The album is accompanied by an essay from Mairi McFadyen which you can get here.
We also have the next installment of Bella’s radio for the lockdown …
Episode 28 has just thirteen tracks and unusually almost never ventures into the sixties. It begins with Sonic Youth’s ‘Teen Age Riot’, a perfect marriage of their famed noise-making with a more conventional song structure that is the opening track to their acclaimed 1988 album Daydream Nation.
‘Hallogallo’ by Neu! is another opening track, this time from the German band’s self-titled debut album, that with it’s single chord relentless drive is perhaps the epitome of Kraut rock.
While ‘Dirty Epic’ is another opening track, this time from Underworld’s Dubnobasswithmyhead, the album isn’t exactly the band’s debut. The album, however, was a fairly radical reinvention for the band, where they found a meeting point between rock and dance music, combined with lyrics taken from overheard conversations. ‘Dirty Epic’ is a powerful beginning to the album.
While Kraftwerk’s sound owned some to their ex-bandmates who founded Neu!, their pioneering use of purely electronic instruments was groundbreaking, helping usher in new musical forms. ‘Computer World’ from their 1981 album of the same name is one of their final moments.
‘God Is A DJ’ is the standout track on Faithless’ second album, 1998’s Sunday 8pm, which sees the electronic group insisting that the club is their church, over a driving trance beat.
From the ashes of Joy Division, came New Order, who moved gradually from their former stark guitar sound into full electronic pop. Their third single ‘Everything’s Gone Green’ finds them early on that journey.
Synth-pop band Bronski Beat had a number three hit with ‘Smalltown Boy’, a song that brought together singer Jimmy Somerville’s soaring vocals with warm electronica to deliver a powerful gay message.
‘Congoman’ by The Congos is the second track from their stunning 1977 debut album Heart of the Congos. An amazing Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry production, the album sees the band combine rich tenor and soaring falsetto vocals over deep roots reggae.
‘Satta Massagana’ by The Abyssinians is the stand out track on their debut album of the same name and is a landmark roots reggae tune.
At this point, it’s time for three guitar songs in a row. It begins with ‘Bagatelle’ by Mehdi Zannad, which can be found on La Souterraine’s 2015 Vol.5
compilation. It’s followed ‘Evil’ by post-punk revivalists Interpol from their second album Antics,
and then the full length version of ‘Ann’ by The Stooges, which came to light on the 2005 expanded re-issure of their timeless 1969 self-titled debut.
The episode ends with an unusual pairing: ‘Inner Flight’ from Primal Scream’s 1991 landmark album Screamadelica and then Count Basie & His Orchestra’s 1942 vocal track ’Ride On’.