For this week’s edition of Bandpicked, let Suki Sou & Iain Laws from Novella take you on a journey from the experimental pop of legendary Japanese composer Haruomi Hosono to Krautrock pioneers Can, via Turkey’s incomparable Esmeray and afrobeat king Fela Kuti.
Novella are a London-based quartet who operate in the ethereal realms of shoegaze and dreampop, but with a much darker, rockier edge than their contemporaries. Novella’s excellent second album Change of State is released by Sinderlyn Records on February 17th and their UK tour begins Feb 24th at the Shacklewell Arms, London. Here’s the title-track as a taster for the forthcoming album:
While touring extensively and travelling the world in support of their debut album, Novella have watched their own country change dramatically both socially and politically and many of the themes of their new album touch on freedom of thought and freedom of movement. So for Novella’s ‘Bandpicked’, the band wanted to break out of the UK and US music scene and bring you some of their favourite international tracks.
According to Novella,“There are many great tunes out there in the world but they never seem to see the light of day, they struggle to break into the American/British music scene, unless they’re plugged or played outside of their own country by those who are in control of the music industry. We also chose this theme because it ties into our upcoming album Change of State.”
Here are some of Novella’s favourite international tracks, courtesy of Suki and Iain…
1) Oh Yeah – Can
Iain: Since the guitarist in my first band introduced me to Can, I’ve been smitten and I worship the drummer, Jaki Liebezeit, he’s simply my favourite by far. It felt like a personal bereavement when he died. Anyhow, this is Jaki at his propulsive best, with the rest of the band completely locked in. Best road trip music around.
2) Roforofo Fight – Fela Kuti
Iain: Another great drummer, Tony Allen, helped create Afro-beat with Fela Kuti. I love how long and danceable their tracks are. The main horn hook on this one was used by Fat Boy Slim on his first album, obviously, the original is better.
3) Saigo no Rakuen by Haruomi Hosono & Friends
Suki: A nostalgic trip back to my childhood, when I was carrying a big bag full of mangos, waiting for the elevator in a late warm summer evening. All of a sudden, voila – you’re an adult! You can experience this while listening to Haruomi Hosono. I’m very much into his ‘Happy End’ project too.
4) Look Up, The Sky Is Beautiful by Sachiko Kanenobu Misora
Suki: This lovely song is from Misora, the 1972 debut by the Japanese folk singer, Sachiko Kanenobu. Apparently, she is considered to be Japan’s 1st female singer-songwriter, and not surprisingly labeled as the “Japanese Joni Mitchell.” Haruomi Hosono also contributed to this song too.
5) A Minha Menina – Os Mutantes
Iain: First heard this at Born Bad, my favourite club night when I lived in Brighton, it’s great to dance to. Perfect fusion of Psych and Latin, happy yet heavy.
6) Crystallized – Melody’s Echo Chamber
Iain: The most recent track I’ve chosen is trance like with shifts of rhythmic emphasis, a beautiful vocal over an ever heavier hook. Massively psychedelic.
7) Wenn Der Südwind Weht By Roedelius
Suki: Who doesn’t love Hans-Joachim Roedelius? This is one of the go to tunes to start my day (everyday) especially when I need a static synthesizer OCD freak.
8) Ayrilik Olsa Bile by Esmeray
Suki: This Turkish cover of ‘Jesahel’ is too much. (Jesahel is a song by the Italian band Delirium) It just has this incredible groove that’s hard to describe.
9) My Lonely Room by Chan Pao Chu (Connie Chan)
Suki: I grew up watching Cantonese pop star Connie Chan’s TV soap opera, and this is one of the main songs from her movie Gold Swallows. It reminds me of my grandmother’s cigarettes ashes.
10) Canto de Ubirantan – Sergio Mendes and Brasil 77
Iain: Love this, it sounds so old school Latin, just massed percussion and vocals until about halfway through when there’s a huge, organic bass-drop, which blows my mind every time and I have to have a little dance. I also normally have to play it twice because it’s too short.
Catch Novella on tour in the UK on the following dates:
24/02: London – Shacklewell Arms
25/02: Brighton – The Joker
26/02: Bristol – Crofter’s Rights
27/02: Coventry – The Tin Music and Arts
28/02: Glasgow – The Hug and Pint
01/03: Leeds – Headrow House
02/03: Manchester – Gullivers
03/03: Sheffield – Outlines Festival