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Trembling Bells are 21st century troubadours who know their history, joyously attempting to synthesise traditional folk forms with the bathetic romanticism of country music, the deceptive complexity of medieval music and the swagger of classic Rock. Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen are the guiding lights in a music that embraces British folk-rock, American roots and electric psychedelia. They are on a quest to connect with the core tradition of Song and live deep within its mysteries … a rhapsodic celebration of the power of Song.
In Spring 2012 the Trembling Bells are playing, singing and duelling with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, performing a new collection of songs written by the Trembling Bells some of which appear on the forthcoming collaborative album ‘The Marble Downs’, out on Honest Jon’s on April 9th 2012.
In this album Alex Neilson has synthesized his love of seat-of-your-pants improv and raw folk into his songwriting with the Bells. While Bonnie has long since shed the Appalachian dirt of his earlier records to enter a fertile period of grace. Now these paths converge on ´The Marble Downs´ – a triumphant exercise in major key ensemble playing concerned with minor key heartbreak, and a marriage of some of the most mercurial and imaginative musicians of our time.
Trembling Bells have enjoyed much success since their inception in 2008. The band have gained favour with such musical titans as Joe Boyd, Paul Weller and the The Unthanks as well as unanimous critical acclaim for their first three albums, Carbeth and Abandoned Love and The Constand Pageant (all on Honest Jons records). They featured heavily in the Wire cover story alongside Alasdair Roberts documenting the emerging experimental folk scene in Scotland (Caledonia Dreaming, March 2010), while also being mentioned in Rob Young’s book, Electric Eden.
“The group do cast their net wider than British folk. The pounding punk-prog number Otley Rock Oracle, channelling Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride, belongs by virtue of its hallucinatory folkloric narrative. Cold Heart Of Mine’s blues harp connects Americana with its European roots and Hastings’ raga like licks look East. In the 21st century nothing can exist in splendid isolation. The Constant Pageant offers a poetic incantation of British identity far brighter than Michael Gove’s proposed GCSE history syllabus.” (Stewart Lee)
Trembling Bells’ third album ‘The Constant Pageant’ had a bounteous spring 2011 release. With reviews and praise coming in from folk publications, the mainstream music journalists and Stewart Lee who invited them to play at his Southbank festival with Mike Heron (Incredible String Band). From its very first notes, the album flies the flag with a more confident, anthemic sound than ever before. on a quest to connect with the core tradition of Song and live deep within its mysteries … a rhapsodic celebration of the power of music.
'brilliant… concise, deeply romantic, totally original ****' (Mojo).
'freewheeling and delightfully quirky ****' (The Guardian).
'CD Of The Week… terrific… they take the antic forms, loosen them and make them arresting and new once more' (The Observer).
The Magnetic Mind
The Magnetic Mind formed in early 2011, brought together by a shared love of 60s garage and psychedelic music. Their early demos caught the ear of White Stripes/Tame Impala producer Liam Watson, who agreed to produce their debut single at the legendary Toe Rag Studios. The single came out on UK indie label Heavy Soul 45s on May 14th 2012, and received airplay on John Kennedy’s X-posure show on XFM. The band are currently working on a follow up single, and a debut album to follow.
"Maybe the Stars, Maybe the Sun" is undoubtedly one of the most authentic slices of sixties style psychedelic pop/rock you’ll find this side of the millenium. Classic west coast vocal harmonies, a stomping mod / motown inflected beat, fuzz guitars to die for and a fantastic breakdown which leads into a killer organ break that would fit in nicely on the first Mandrake Memorial album. Think the Peanut Butter Conspiracy, a far groovier Judy Dyble era Fairport Convention, early Jefferson Airplane and the likes." The Active Listener
"From the opening number, ‘Stay Away From the Door’, you could tell this band meant business. If we have to make comparisons (which we do) they sound like early Jefferson Airplane jamming with Ray Manzarek to these ears, which is totally alright by me. " Shindig
“Wow! What a Magnificent and absolute Powerful Psychedelic-Pop-Inspired-60s this Record is!!!” TimeMazine
HIDDEN MASTERS are a Progressive-Psychedelic-Folk-Rock trio based in Glasgow.
HIDDEN MASTERS deliver an idiosyncratic blend of progressive pop, psych, folk and dramatic rock’n’roll styles via electrifying live performances; their dynamic ensemble sound, lively arrangements and lush three-part harmony vocals can be heard to great effect on their debut release, Nobody Knows That We’re Here/Grey Walls Grey.
"Imagine taking all the upbeat oddities from the Association’s Warner period, a dash of May Blitz’ 2nd of May, then get Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera to mix it by hand, and force it through Link Wray’s sausage machine. The end result is then lapped up and regurgitated by Village Green period Kinks, or dare I say, Queen. You get the picture? And if you don’t, just go see Hidden Masters live - boatloads of energy, swagger, chops and charm - transcending everything you’ve seen up until now." Shindig
"Dave Dixon, Alpha Mitchell and John Nicol, are responsible for these two mini-masterpieces. They hail from Glasgow, and these two songs are truly wonderful, containing as they do the very essence of the ’60s British psych-pop scene. Astonishing tempo changes, incredible vocals, glorious performances, in short: brilliant stuff!" Gew-Gaw Fanzine