New Cross Inn

Apeman Spaceman: The Amersham Arms, London

When 2 members of cult heroes Dogs (Johnny Cooke & Rikki Mehta) formed Apeman Spaceman in 2014, it felt inevitable the world wouldn’t miss out on their genius twice. The success, and more importantly, their vision wasn’t forthcoming immediately. However, 5 years on, it’s all coming together like Hannibal’s finest plan.

The north London outfit headlined The Amersham Arms this past Saturday with a verve and aggression that was undeniable. They took the emotive destruction of IDLES and razor sharp lyricism of Sleaford Mods and put it through their distorted outer space landscapes.  

Latest single ‘Living in a Teacake’, recalled the early guitars and bass licks of Dogs classic ‘London Bridge’. Here though, they go harder and more punkadelic to reach new dystopian glories.

On ‘Check Me Out’, they again find that past sweet spot and combine it with their twisted future. It’s a spellbinding concoction, and when Cooke’s vocals hit full force, they transcend music. They become a devilish subconscious you cannot switch off.

It may have taken five years, but on this evidence it was more than worth it.

This Friday marks our 8th birthday. Come down to the New Cross Inn for a night of great live music from 7pm. Click the image for tickets:

Daniel Land - The Dream Of The Red Sails

Dreampop connoisseur Daniel Land has returned with his fourth album ‘The Dream Of The Red Sails’ via Hinney Beast Records.

With the focus of bygone relationships at its core, this album has the potential to be all things to all people. The multiple post-summer reflections will cart any romantic football fan back to the world cup and Gareth Southgate giving England its football soul back to the fans.

The power of Land’s imagery and music goes way beyond the summer of waistcoat love though. Recording began back in 2016, the year of Trump, Brexit, the endless loss of icons and, for Land, a cancer scare.

'Self-Portrait in Autumn Colours' deals directly with the life altering moment of the scare. The torment of not knowing the results and the romance of his partner standing by him is a remarkable feat song writing. Thankfully, Land received the all clear and, with that, delivered the lyrical heartbeat of the album “I’m not dying / I’m just another year older”. The peculiar banality provides a honesty of the situation that thankfully, most will never comprehend.

When key life moments come your way, so often comes a period of taking stock. The reflective beauty of 'Summer Song' will transport everyone back to their coming of age summer. The first love, the first gig, the endless nights out with friends, the first spliff, the first pill, the first holiday, the first love drifting away.

In the clutches of Brexit failure, medieval walls and wheels, the courageousness to produce songs this romantic is admirable. Bands like IDLES and The Blinders are rightly spitting venomous polemic but, being his late 30s, Land has brought a wisdom and wistful take on how to cope with mire.

'Long Before The Weather', sounding like Sigor Ros in English, enhances hope in these dark times with a progressive clarity:

“your history doesn't bind”

Strummer-esque slogans are a rare breed in the dreampop genre. This powerful message is delivered with a gentle arm round the shoulder but with no less polemical intent

The older one gets, the harder it becomes to believe in anything, let alone heroes. Daniel Land is a hero. To write an album amid political bile and personal turmoil is an achievement in itself. To trawl through your own personal history and relationships and not be filled regret is something us mere mortals can only dream of.

The binary disposition of Brexit positions is so prevalent it’s hard to ever find an answer for anything. 'The Dream of Red Sails' is the third way. It is the leadership we so desperately need.

*Image Courtesy of Jade Nott: