The Lost Cavalry The Lost Cavalry

The Lost Cavalry's Diary

13/2/15 : 100 albums in 2015 part 1

So, one of my new year resolutions for 2015 is to listen to 100 albums that I'd not listened to before... of various styles, some recommended, some randomly found. Here are the first ten!

1. Arab Strap - Elephant Shoe. I've never listened to Arab Strap though I loved Aidan Moffat when I saw him play at a Mogwai gig in Alexandra Palace, and I love the cover of 'Bill Is Dead' they did together. I didn't realise that Arab Strap had drum machines. It's a lot more like Mogwai than I realised it would be - but that's no bad thing of course. It gets a bit samey towards the end maybe, but I really like it and can't believe it's taken me this long to listen to them... A good start to my 100 new albums!

2. Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - The Boatman's Call. I'm a BIG fan of Nick Cave, he's one of my vocalist and lyricist heroes, but I only discovered him relatively recently, so don't know many of the older albums yet. This one starts with "Into My Arms" (which I did already know), which has to be one of the most beautiful songs ever, I'd eat my own legs to write a song like that. The other track that triggered some inspiring thoughts and made me listen back to the lyrics was "Where Do We Go Now But Nowhere". The whole album is so all about Nick Cave's words of wisdom and the powerful voice, far less instrumentation than most bands I listen to. He's a genius.

3. Stereolab - Mars Audiac Quintet. This CD was given to me by drummer Jonny who played in our friend's Cosines and I can see the influence here, lots of rich warm Farfisa-style synths and repeating riffs. It gets pretty hypnotic and makes you want to tap your foot. This album is from 1994 and is their third album, I don't know if it's considered one of their best or not, but I'd guess it's pretty representative of their style. I'm a fan of the synths but not really a fan of the vocals... I like it, but it doesn't excite me much - Cosines for example take this style and add in more interesting catchy pop bits... listening to this album makes me want to go and listen to Cosines instead ;-) Mark.x

4. The Mountain Goats - The Sunset Tree. As recommended by our bassist, Simon. He says 'Pre 2002 they were ultra lo-fi. One guy and his mates recording a record a year on a tape recorder'. This album isn't as lo-fi, but is still nice and simple. Dilaudid is a pretty powerful track, with all the chopping cellos, but I think I prefer the softer songs on the album - I find it hard to like the singer John Darnielle's voice on 'This Year' and the shoutier numbers. Simon likes the personal and direct nature of the lyrics, and I agree. 'You Or Your Memory' is a great example, and 'Pale Green Things' the closing track is utterly wonderful.

5. Pavement - Slanted and Enchanted. Most of what I know about Pavement was from seeing them play at All Tomorrows Parties, this is the first time I've listened to one of their albums all the way through. Slanted and Enchanted is their first album, released in 1992. There's some really great stuff on here, "Conduit For Sale!" is stuck in my head, and the whole album is refreshingly raw and exciting, you can really picture them in the studio recording it - I think it actually benefits from the drummer not being very good back when they first started! I can really see how Pavement excited people and made people want to start their own bands.

6. Ray Conniff - Ole! This is amazing! It's a vinyl that came within a bunch of them donated to me by a lovely old chap my Mum knew. It's a compilation of mostly instrumental Latin-American and Spanish-styled orchestra pieces, all arranged by Ray Conniff. If I ever get around to making another chilled-out mix some of this is going on it. There's an incredible instrumental version of 'Do You Know The Way To San Jose?' on side one that's calling out for a dancy remix too. Loads of trumpets and a choir singing "Ba daaaaa ba dah!", it's from 1973 but sounds very 60's to me. It's all really uplifting and lively, I love it!

7. Mum. - Finally We Are No One. I already know one of their more recent albums "Sing Along To Songs You Don't Know", but this is their second album from 2002. It's more instrumental, experimental and mellow than "Sing Along...", which is more pop and upbeat. I think I might like this older album more though, it's packed with great ideas and soundscapes - lots of crackles and pops and stompy clicking samples to build up the rhythms, something I've been trying out myself more recently, I'd love to combine these sort of ideas with a strong vocal and pretty guitars. It's a lovely album, I recommend listening to it late at night in a dark room in headphones.

8. Orange Juice - The Esteemed (The Very Best Of). I kinda want to listen to full proper albums rather than 'best of's, but this CD was sitting on my shelf waiting to be heard, another one given to me by Jonny. I expected to love it, but don't really... yet, I suspect it's one that will take a few listens. I'm also very disappointed in myself that I didn't know this was the band Edwyn Collins was famous for, prior to his solo career (I first got to hear of him in 1994 with "A Girl Like You"). I'm definitely going to listen to this album again, as I really think I *should* like it... we'll see!

9. The KutiMangoes - Afro-Fire. This one is thanks to Folkroom's Ben Walker, after he played 'Fire' in between the bands at our gig last weekend (the launch of Folkroom Anthology Three). The band are from Copenhagen and this is their first album, and their only one so far - released in 2014. It's probably music that's best danced to... I'm sat at a desk, but it's infectious, upbeat, jazzy Afro-beat rhythms have made my day a lot more fun! 'Song For Fela' is perfect - a catchy flute hook with drums and percussion it's impossible not to swing your hips to (even if sat at a desk). This is going to be a fun album to play along to at home while practicing improvising Hammond organ too!

10. Roxy Music - Roxy Music. Very classic album that I'd never listened to until now - I only knew Virginia Plain, which always reminds me of the final sketch from 'Big Train'... This is a great album, great songwriting and (for me) the right balance of pop and experimental sounds. The lead track 'Re-make/Re-model' is a bit of a tour-de-force, and the first half certainly seems stronger than the second, but maybe my view will change with more listens.

28/12/13 : Round up of 2013

The Lost Cavalry album launch at St Pancras Old Church Sep 2013

What a big year 2013 has been for us! We've made a massive amount of new friends (Patch And The Giant, Sophie Jamieson, Worry Dolls, Andrew Butler, Lucy Cait, Inti Rowland, Stephen Hallam, Cameron Niven to name just a few), and of course Ben and Stephen at Folkroom Records. And we've gained a new Cavalryman in the form of Simon McIlhinney.

We've played on the main stage at LeeFest, played a load of gigs around London, and released a split 7" vinyl single with Keston Cobblers' Club (limited edition but copies still available!). We also played at the amazing St Pancras Old Church for the release of our debut album Three Cheers For The Undertaker...

And that's the main thing we're proud of in 2013! We're really very pleased with our album and we're glad we worked on it so long to get it just right. If you haven't had a listen yet, please do... you can buy it or stream it for free.

So happy new year! And We hope 2014 turns out to be a great year for us and for you! TLC.x

16/7/13 : LeeFest 2013 main stage

I think we probably earned our spot this year on the LeeFest main stage! We've been at LeeFest every year for four years now - at first as wandering minstrals, then playing on the Wonderland stage, and this year we graduated to a slot opening the main stage on the Saturday - the first band on for most people at the festival. It was a gloriously sunny day and we were ready to entertain!

We were joined by Angie from the brilliant Patch And The Giant on trumpet, and by new Cavalry member Simon, playing ukulele and melodica, the biggest Cavalry lineup so far - 8 of us. We danced and we played for 30 mins, finishing with a triumphant version of 'The Flood'. It was the biggest buzz I've ever had, singing out to a sunny field of happy festival-goers... LeeFest is an amazing festival, run by a group of lovely people, we're really honoured to have been given our first main stage festival show by them, and we hope to be back again some time!

12/6/13 : Seven inch joint gig with the Cobblers

Last week we played one of the most fun gigs we've ever played - it was to celebrate the release of our first ever vinyl release - a joint single sith Keston Cobblers' Club. It's a split 7" vinyl, with one of their songs on one side and one of ours on the other.

Our track is the new single 'Stars Are Ripe', which as a happy tie-in also features Matt, Bethan and Tom's brass and backing vocals by Jules of Keston. It's a story about George Van Dyne - an empirical modelling scientist who lived in the US and who sadly died in 1981.

To launch the record we played a joint acoustic gig at the Queens Head for Folkroom Records - we didn't use any mics, we just stood around the piano and sang and played. To make it a proper joint-headline we took turns playing one of our songs each, and gradually joined in on each others' songs as much as we could - until by the end we were all playing together and raising the roof! Singing without a microphone is a lot of fun, you feel very unrestricted and free. For the last song we all played a cover of Brown Eyed Girl, with the audience singing along too with the lyrics sheets provided! It was a bit of a special atmosphere... I hope that anyone reading this who came along had as much fun as we did!

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