22 Feb, 2017
We are excited to announce today the first of the Caught by the River line-up for September. There will be more literary and poet announcements to follow, but for now, feast your eyes on what's in store:
Once described by the NME as a ‘lost genius and among the most gifted songwriters of his generation’, Michael Head is unquestionably a Liverpool legend. An effortless and deeply soulful songwriter, he formed his first band, The Pale Fountains, with his younger brother John in the early 1980s. After releasing two — at the time misunderstood —albums for Virgin, he formed his second band, Shack, in 1986, and despite various mishaps and episodes of bad luck, they managed to release five critically acclaimed albums including Waterpistol in 1995 and HMS Fable for London Records in 1999. In 1997 he released what is arguably his most acclaimed and accomplished album to date, The Magical World Of The Strands, under the name of Michael Head & The Strands. Since 2013 he has been writing and recording under the name of Michael Head & The Red Elastic band. He has so far released a couple of EPs, with an album planned in the summer of 2017 on Violette Records.
Veteran British songwriter and guitar sage Michael Chapman ranks among the innovative midcentury English guitarists who transposed the atmosphere and syntax of the blues to a British context through reinvention and deconstruction, rather than imitation. His music is suffused with the crooked logic, unfulfilled longing, and existential danger of dreams, shaded with his own wry sensibility of Northern darkness. Like a peaty whiskey, the smoky gravitas of his playing and singing has grown more trenchant and entrenched with age. His emergence in 1967 as a self-taught jazz freak, recovering art-school student, and part-time photography teacher on the Cornish folk circuit preceded a series of classic late 1960s and ’70s albums for Harvest, Deram, and Decca. (But whatever you do, don’t call him a folkie; he feels more kinship with the improvisatory outer orbits of jazz, blues, and the avant-garde.)
Born out of a compulsion to make infectious, melody-driven music from a treasure trove of secret sounds, Pictish Trail’s spectral songs are filtered through a sun-warped pop lens, where heart-pumping guitar shriek-outs collide with sampled gurgles, and fractured lyrics figure-skate over sine-waves of glacial synth. Something of a sonic hermit, he spent large parts of the past few years tucked away in his caravan on the Hebridean isle of Eigg, feverishly working on Future Echoes: 2016’s follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2014 double album Secret Soundz Vol. 1&2.
Rozi Plain has been making music since her brother taught her a few chords on the guitar aged 13. Raised in Winchester, she spent a few years studying art and painting boats in Bristol, where she began collaborating with long-term collaborators Kate Stables (This Is The Kit) and Rachael Dadd, among many others on a thriving local scene. Her most recent album - Friend, released on Lost Map Records in May 2015, is a spellbinding reaffirmation of the now London-based singer-songwriter as one of the most unique and original voices in UK alt-folk, and features contributions from Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor and members of Francois & The Atlas Mountains among many others.
Amber Arcades is the moniker of Dutch-born musician Annelotte de Graaf. De Graaf first started writing songs in 2010 while temporarily living in Philadelphia. Back in the Netherlands she put out a first EP in 2012 containing soft-voiced, melancholic folk ballads. Wanting to develop her sound and mature from the safe bedroom folk environment, she got in touch with producer Ben Greenberg (Beach Fossils, The Men, Destruction Unit) to produce a collection of songs she had written over the years. In May 2015, de Graaf flew out to New York to record the songs, backed by a band containing Kevin Morby, as well as members of Real Estate and Quilt. The result is Fading Lines, a record that is as dreamy and esoteric as it is gripping, presenting slightly off, floating pop melodies over a mixture of kraut-inspired drums, cutting guitars and fuzzed-out organs.
JEB LOY NICHOLS
Jeb Loy Nichols was born in America, raised in Missouri, spent time in New York, Spain and London, and now lives in Wales. In 1981 he found himself living in a squat with Adrian Sherwood, Ari Up (from the Slits), and Neneh Cherry. He formed Fellow Travellers, a country dub band, and recorded four CDs. Critic Robert Christagau called them “The children of Merle, Marley and Marx.” In 1996 he recorded the first of eleven solo records. Rolling Stone Magazine has called him “The high priest of country cool.” His latest record, Country Hustle, was named “The Right Now Sound For A New Millennium” by The Nashville Scene.
Flamingods are a five-piece, multi-instrumental band formed in Bahrain in 2009. The band was founded by Kamal Rasool and now consists of Rasool, Sam Rowe, Charles Prest, Karthik Poduval and Craig Doporto. Based in both the UK and Bahrain, the band has carried out operations online as much as in person. The group puts a focus on exploration and experimentation, often taking influence from different cultures around the world by use of an extensive collection of instruments from as far as Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Turkey, Japan and Tanzania.
The winsome melancholic embers of Girl Ray began amongst the scattered brown brick rows of North London. They have been writing demos since their mid-teens about wanting to skateboard, how much they hate Mick Jagger and the school dinner ladies. Their debut album Earl Grey will be released by Moshi Moshi Records in June 2017.
The Orielles - sisters Esme and Sid Hand-Halford and friend Henry Wade - formed after meeting at a house party, with the sisters only learning how to play their instruments after getting the band together. Keen advocates of DIY methods and following riot grrrl bands and California groups, The Orielles put their own stamp on that lo-fi sound. Receiving strong praise from NME, Steve Lamacq and Amazing Radio’s Shell Zenner, a strong following in Leeds, Manchester and their hometown of Halifax has grown into country-wide interest.
RED RIVER DIALECT
In 2015 Red River Dialect released the follow up to 2012’s critically acclaimed “awellupontheway”, a record that drew comparisons to Fairport Convention, Dirty Three, the Waterboys, Arbouretum & Nick Cave. NPR, who premiered the stream of the band’s new album ‘Tender Gold and Gentle Blue’ on their First Listen service, noted that ‘it conjures that moment when British bands like Fairport Convention were just starting to play with the naturally psychedelic textures of their homeland’s traditional folk music’ whilst also identifying more abstract influences like Henry Flynt and Richard Youngs. Uncut magazine’s 8/10 review described this ‘set of acoustica driven by strummed and picked guitars shot through with cello and piano’ as ‘Brave and different.’ The band have shared bills with Steve Gunn, Six Organs of Admittance, Hiss Golden Messenger, William Tyler, Michael Chapman, Arbouretum and The Black Twig Pickers.
The place is Airdrie. The year is 1983. Memorial Device, the best band that never existed, are about to change everyone’s lives forever. This Is Memorial Device, the debut novel by David Keenan, is a love letter to the small towns of Lanarkshire in the west of Scotland in the late 1970s and early 80s as they were temporarily transformed by the endless possibilities that came out of the freefall from punk rock. Written in a series of hallucinatory first-person eye-witness accounts that capture the prosaic madness of the time and place, heady with the magic of youth recalled, with moments of delirious psychedelic modernism, laugh out loud bathos and tender poignancy, David Keenan’s debut novel conjures a cast of misfits, artists, drop-outs, small town visionaries and musicians in a time where anything seemed possible - a moment where art and the demands it made were as serious as your life. This is Scotland. This is Memorial Device. David Keenan is also the author of England's Hidden Reverse: A Secret History of the Esoteric Underground, and is a senior critic at The Wire.
Will Burns is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River. A regular reader of his work at festivals across the country, his marvellous debut pamphlet, published through the prestigious Faber New Poets scheme in 2014, was hailed for its ‘quiet intelligence and subtle ways of seeing’, for a voice that is ‘rough but still tender, solitary, ruminating’. His equally brilliant second pamphlet was published by Clutag in 2016.
Martha Sprackland’s debut pamphlet, Glass As Broken Glass, was published in January 2017 with Rack Press. Martha was twice a winner of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. Previously founder-editor of Cake magazine and assistant poetry editor for Faber, she is currently an idle larkabout (finishing a first collection) and, with Will Burns, is poet-in-residence for Caught by the River.
Stay tuned for further poetry and literary announcements.