DC Fontana Communiqué: August 2012

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

DC Fontana Communiqué: May 2011

Let’s kick off our merry month of May missive to our friends with news that work has begun on this summer’s chic DC Fontana album ‘La Contessa.’

This project is scheduled to come out in August as a cool collectors’ edition with a continental flavour.

And the group has recorded a brand new & barnstorming instrumental called ‘Abbesses’ especially for the record.

This will be joined by more new tracks & superb new versions of songs that appeared on the début album ‘Six Against Eight’ but this time sung in French & Italian by DC chanteuses, Karla & Kicca.

La Contessa’ takes parts of the first album & transforms them into a beautifully evocative stroll along the Champs-Élysées, a climb up the cobbled street hill of Montmartre in Paris & a brisk Lambretta ride past the Colosseum in Rome.

Once again produced by Donald Ross Skinner, it should be a real treat for any purveyors of cool & anyone in to the eclectic DC sound.

The record will also serve as a summer picnic before the feast that will be the follow up to ‘Six Against Eight‘ which the group intends to start recording in the coming months at their base in the Elephant House.

We will undoubtedly let you know more about ‘La Contessa‘ in the coming weeks but I can report that everyone in the group was thrilled with ‘Abbesses’ when it was recorded at the start of May.

I was in the studio when it was created & I can tell you the band is getting better & better & carving out a distinctive vibe as every week goes by & this ‘Abbesses‘ track will be popular out on the floor.

You can expect a dancefloor friendly three-minute rush of crunchy Farfisa organ, car-chase horns, garagey guitars & funky congas blasting along at a fair old pace.

The group were excited to receive a surprise remix of their work from the ‘Six Against Eight’ album this week from bass player Mark Mortimer’s long-term friend Rob Cross who used to play with Mr. Ray’s Wig World.

Titled, brilliantly, ‘Sighed DC‘, the mix is a psychedelic ambient collage of moments from the first DC album plus some snippets of speech from a very famous late actor of Irish descent who the group are extremely fond of.

And next some apologies right from the art of Mercia:

Firstly, we’d like to say SORRY to those of you who are keen to see our new short movie for the new DC Fontana release ‘Meshkalina’…we have had one or two unforeseen things happen that have delayed the film but it’s a-comin’-in.

Don’t you worry, within a flurry of days this film will be unveiled & we think it’s a whole bunch of fun.

It stars our singer Karla and also a seven year-old girl – Ella – also hailing from the Kingdom of Mercia, plus the Horned God, badger, stag, hare, mini car, apples and faery dancers. It’s a magickal thing & we feel sure you will dig it.

The video will be online very shortly. Watch out for it……

As for the record itself we now have copies of the CD EP (five tracks to make May extra-merry) and the 7″ vinyl at DC headquarters and you can also download the tunes as mp3s from our web store here:

http://www.dcfontana.com/shop.html

The second apology relates to those of you who have ordered DC Fontana shirts from our web store…we have currently sold out all clothing items & are in the process of creating some new stock so just bear with us while we get some new stuff in.

The third apology is to all those of you who paid & pre-ordered the 7” vinyl version of ‘Meshkalina’ & then had to wait – due to the recent flurry of Bank Holidays here in the UK we suffered delays which were beyond our control.

As regards live gigs May is the DCs’ lull for 2011 but they do make a return to Café Rene in Gloucester on Friday May 27 followed by a home-town show in Tamworth the following evening & a trip down south to play the Bedford in Balham, south London with Proud Mary on Sunday May 28.

Anyone wishing to go to this gig should note it is almost sold out so they would be advised to get in quick.

DC Hammond player Scott Riley is currently on a month-long hiatus in California & appearing with the group in his absence is the hugely talented and humorous Giles Minkley, a regular member of the growing DC family who lives in the Cotswolds & who kicked up a storm on the recording of ‘Abbesses‘ with some fizzing Farfisa chops.

The group asked me to wish you all well & to thank you for your continuing support, particularly thanking those amazing cats who travelled from as far as Australia and Brittany to see the group deliver a blistering set at Portmeirion in Wales last month & to those who travelled from afar to see the group at The Cavern in Liverpool & at Beat Bespoke in London.

Your support is ALWAYS hugely appreciated & never taken for granted.

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