Well Come one and all!
Evolutionary paths continue to be trod by those in the world of DC Fontana as a hectic summer continues apace with the band jetting out for Spain for the incomporable Euro Ye Ye festival this week.
The DCs will be joined on stage by their producer and vital collaborator-in-chief Donald Ross Skinner at what will be an incredibly special show this Thursday (August 2nd) under the full moon in the northern Spanish resort of Gijón as the band will be showcasing their own original tunes before being joined on stage by 60s & 70s blue eyed soul legend Don Fardon.
Don, whose fantastic late 60s (& early 70s) back catalogue includes nuggets like “I’m Alive”, “Coming On Strong,” “The Dreaming Room,” “Sunshine Woman”, “Belfast Boy” and much more, has been rehearsing with the DCs towards the Ye Ye gig and I can reliably confirm it sounds FANTASTIC!
With people jetting in to Gijón from all over the globe for this feast of hip-shaking sonic goodness (the Ye Ye runs until Sunday in an amost non-stop dizzy daze of psychedelic retro-is-now hedonism for cool heads and dancers alike) there is great anticipation for the DC & Don gig which takes place in the Plaza Mayor (pictured).
The band last played this feast of music & 1960s-related culture two years ago with an almost completely different line up and this year’s bash signposts an exciting new era for the current line up which is now fronted by Salford chanteuse Louise Turner who has already made the vocalist job her own and endeared her to DC followers in the UK during her short spell at the helm.
Also on board in Spain will be the group’s brilliant new brass section featuring Steve Bland on trumpet, Jo Naylor on tenor saxophone and flute, Alicia Gardener-Trejo on baritone saxophone and Saphran Ali on trombone.
This is the line up which has now completed the group’s next record, a six-track EP (or mini album if you prefer) called ‘Pentagram Man’ which should be released sometime in September all being well.
The record is a forward-thinking collection of sonic nuggets designed to tantalise.
And all six tunes on the record will soon be promoted all across the web thanks to THREE brand new short films that the band has shot in and around the Kingdom of Mercia this summer:
Video 1: ‘Sighed DC’ / ‘Pentagram Man’ is an ambitious 8-minutes long short film and pop video featuring actors Richard Taylor, Louise Fulwell & Mark Brindley alongside the band filmed at various locations including Tamworth Castle, the Custard Factory in Digbeth, the streets of Birmingham and the fields of Leicestershire……
The mini movie is the natural follow-up to DC Fontana’s much-loved ‘Six Against Eight’ short film that was made mostly in Portmeirion and is again directed by Martin Copland-Gray.
It’s another ambitious example of the group’s “art & soul” and the film – shot by Dan Evans of Expressive Arts Productions – mixes another surreal story line based on the lyrics of ‘Pentagram Man’ bisected with group performance goodies.
Richard Taylor, who played Benny The Barman in the ‘Six Against Eight‘ movie returns as the lead character, playing the bearded, suited & booted ‘Pentagram Man’….a deluded Mercian Midlander who has convinced himself he is related to occultist Aleister Crowley and possesses powerful magickal powers.Bass player Mark Mortimer, who wrote Penty explained to me that “the song is allegorical and concerns self-delusion in all its various manifestations” and it’s also a slap in the face to those who are quick to dismiss eccentricity and people who avoid being typecast like the rest of the general public.
‘Pentagram Man‘ itself is a catchy medium-paced tune with a blsitering fuzz guitar solo and a sing-along refrain to annoy your senses for months to come.
The other track featured in this short film is the lengthy ambient psychedelia of ‘Sighed DC’, a stunning instrumental piece that is a quixotic potion of dreamy vocals where former singer Karla Milton’s voice gives way to that of Louise Turner in a symbolic passing of the torch. Meanwhile, Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar gets involved and invokes a mediaeval Spanish incantation while Mellotrons, autoharp and Syd Barrett-like guitar stuff mingle beautifully in a cinematic three-stage psych-out.
Video 2: ‘What Would It Take?‘ / ‘Satisfied (Part 1)‘ is totally the opposite to ‘Pentagram Man‘ with a deliberately stripped-back and skeletal vibe, being a simple performance video shot by Andy Codling in an empty room at the Custard Factory in Birmingham.
Again directed by Copland-Gray this video features the band performing guitarist Tony Russell’s beautiful acid-folk tune which is a delightful acoustic gem featuring some beautiful vocals from Louise Turner plus Tony’s acoustic guitar, a smattering of accordion and a Nick Drake inspired flute solo from Jo Naylor.It’s a beautiful and moving song and adds a gorgeous texture to the EP.
The other tune featured in the video is Scott Riley’s song ‘Satisfied‘ but it is radically different from the version that appears on the group’s debut album and is a stripped back alternative version featuring congas, Beatles-like cellos, gorgeous bluesy piano and it has a lazy psychedelic jazz feel.
Video 3: ‘DevilAngel‘ / ‘BONUS TRACK‘ sees the band attempt a traditional “pop video” format for the first time ever and with Copland-Gray once again directing and with Dan Evans filming again, this film was made inside a studio in the heart of Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter district.
The video sees the band performing the ultra catchy ‘DevilAngel‘ tune with the additional assistance from performance artist Adam Ford who appears as a giant 10-foot tall red demonic figure with horns.
Musically, ‘DevilAngel’ is a gem with pounding post-punk tribal drums (think Gang Of Four or perhaps the Velvets) and a super-catchy riff played by fuzz guitar and hammered dulcimer….the chorus is strident and anthemic and will have you singing it or a long time after you hear it
…….then there are blissed out moments of Brian Wilson influenced pop with orchestral woodwind played by Jo Naylor (flutes) & Meg Stockbridge (cor anglais & oboe) while the more traditional DC sound of Hammond organ and horns is also proudly in the mix.The overall result is probably the catchiest and most commercial DC release to date. The sixth track featured on the EP & also to feature in this final video is a surprise to be announced ….
The record was recorded at The Elephant House Studios in Baslall Heath, Birmingham and produced by Donald Ross Skinner with G Corp. Additional production on ‘Sighed DC‘ comes from Rob Cross, guitarist with Mr. Ray’s Wig World.
DC Fontana are hoping to release ‘Pentagram Man EP‘ on vinyl (via Teen Sound / Misty Lane in Rome), CD & mp3 downloads (via DCTone Records)….hopefully in September (watch this space).
The Rev. Delirium
with help from Æthelbald & Tomsæte, morris dancing from the otherside &
warping the lowlands of belief & the highlands of imagination into a
mind-melted slop of psychodrama in Mercia, a land where wolfsbanes once
roamed, factories dreamed & robins were reliant betwixt the rivers anker &
tame close to offa’s palace