The Return of The Parish Church Fire

The Parish Church Fire are an Alternative Rock band from Manchester, UK fronted by Sam Smith. As loud as they are soft, the band have carved a unique dynamic with elements of heavy metal, trip hop, punk, jazz and blues. Comparable to Afghan Whigs, Radiohead & Pearl Jam. They have a new single out on May 10th called “Hunger” followed by two high profile gigs at Strummercamp and The Eagle, Salford in May and June.

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Here is a recent interview with band front man Sam Smith carried out by German Shepherd co-owner Bob Osborne.

Hi Sam, can you give us a brief history of The Parish Church Fire?

I put together the band in July 2014 after the disbanding my previous outfit ‘Sam Smith & Company’. Although The Parish Church Fire has solely been a studio project for the last 5 years an original live band was assembled upon formation but were only together for just 21 days. The line-up was myself, Chris Gilman & Rick Jarvis (and also Dave Wooley, Jack Farnworth and Peter Toner briefly). In that time Chris, Rick and I rehearsed relentlessly almost every day to get the wealth of material I had written up to standard for a busy gig schedule which had been booked for autumn of 2014. We had even managed to complete a studio session, recording 5 songs. Unfortunately, shortly after the sessions, the band split very abruptly due to the sudden departure of Rick Jarvis and my own ongoing health problems.

What have you been up to since 2014?

In 2015, I signed to German Shepherd Records and adopted the moniker ‘Franco Bandini’ as a result of increasing discomfort using my birth name due to the global rise of Universal Music Group artist Sam Smith. I released a solo EP as Bandini, entitled  ‘2014 Was a Bad Year’ and supported Australian rock legend Dave Graney at The Eagle Inn, Salford. I also did a radio session with Stephen Doyle at Salford City Radio and that was also released by German Shepherd. The ‘The Parish Church Fire EP’ which contained 3 of the 5 songs recorded with the original Parish Church Fire line up was self released at around the same time.

You pursued your vision of the Parish Church Fire band though?

The idea of assembling a band of musicians to represent the vision of The Parish Church Fire and also the desire to perform the songs written specifically for that band never went away. Whilst continuing to work as Franco Bandini, I met drummer Joe Roberts when we both rehearsed with a metal band which sadly never quite got off the ground. We stayed in touch after that band disbanded and we would occasionally meet to discuss the downfall of Manchester United, brewing methods and music production whilst sometimes exchanging demos via email. In 2016, we released the first Parish Church Fire single ‘Locamente’ on German Shepherd Records which was largely well received and we discussed putting together a live band, however as a result of personal circumstances for both of us getting in the way, this would not happen for another 2 and a half years.


Things picked up a little in 2017 though?

Yes! I returned to using my birth name in early 2017, releasing two singles and a live album along the way whilst performing live as a solo artist across the UK with just a guitar and piano. However I always felt that the Parish Church Fire band would come together as a live entity when the time was right. I was booked to appear at Strummercamp Festival in 2019 on the strength of my solo material and the time seemed right to assemble a band.  I contacted former Sam Smith & Company bassist John Bardsley, who is currently one of the key forces behind The Ombudsmen, and asked him if he would be interested in joining the band in its early stages of rebirth. Joe contacted friend and former Confucius Saint guitarist Timothy Hughes to see if he was interested and an initial rehearsal was soon set up.

So where are we up to now?

From the get go, due to various difficulties each of the four of us was dealing with in our personal lives, the rehearsals took place on the provision that they would always remain light hearted, humour would be at the forefront, and ,that a large amount of beer would be drank during each session!  Building on this foundation, a bond was carved between the four of us and despite the alcohol, professionalism ensued and a set of new material I had written was soon ready to perform, leading to a second gig being added for summer 2019 at The Eagle Inn in Salford.

On Initial listening to the new release we found a newly reborn Sam Smith, an artist with the potential we always knew was there, bursting through  With this new band drawing on the strengths of each individual member whilst always respecting the composition of Sam’s songs, there is a unique dynamic sound, emerging through this rebirth, which can be as heavy as it can be soft.  We took the view that there was a perfect marriage of the rock and punk ethos, exciting!

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German Shepherd Records Newsletter #35 – Moff Skellington, Weimar Single Launch, Award for Dominic Carlton Jones, New Single from Crab Dance GI’s and Gigs!

Hello and welcome to the regular newsletter from German Shepherd Records, this week:

  • We reissue Moff Skellington’s “The Corduroy Bridge” album
  • We report on the successful single launch from Weimar
  • We celebrate an award for Dominic Carlton Jones
  • We tell you about a new single from Crab Dance GI’s
  • We let you know about some gigs

MOFF SKELLINGTON – THE CORDUROY BRIDGE

If you have not heard the work of Moff Skellington before then you are in for a fascinating experience.

Moff, whose given name is Andy Quayle, is an iconoclast blessed with a unique talent with words and music that defies convention and operates in a separate and quite distinct time continuum to the rest of the world of entertainment. His prolific and prodigious output, over twenty five albums/EP’s and one DVD since 1999, offers some of the most exciting and challenging work you are ever likely to hear. Aside from his musical endeavours he is also a gifted and talented visual artist who has exhibited his unique painting and drawings in many different locations. He has recently moved into the world of video to create a fascinating marriage of his paintings and music.

The music is described as Eddodi – a kind of mutant folk music which incorporates elements of post-punk, rock and blues. Imagine Pere Ubu, Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart and Harry Partch thrown into a blender and mixed with the English Folk Tradition and you are getting somewhere near the sound.

The album “The Corduroy Tongue” was originally released in 2015 and we are reissuing it on 15th February in digital format as part of our plan to eventually release all of Moff’s back catalogue.

Moff is a “Marmite” artist you either are 1000% committed to his work or you are left scratching your head and wondering what you have just listened to. We understand if you don’t “get it” we are used to the mixed reaction.

As a taster of his work here is Moff defining entertainment

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WEIMAR ENJOY TRIUMPHANT SINGLE LAUNCH

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Photo courtesy Victoria Egan

Weimar packed out The Eagle Inn in Salford on February 1st for the launch of their single “John Doe/Curse The Songs”. With an hour long set and a rapturous audience the band played both sides of the new single, were joined on stage by a very soulful Rose Niland for a couple of songs, featured new material, and, blew the roof off with a stunning version of “Nights In Spanish Harlem”. The set concluded with a couple of old tunes from Aidan Cross’s previous band The Bacillus (album still available on the German Shepherd bandcamp page). Press reports were effusive in their praise of the evening with Louder Than War and the Salford Star writing positive articles,. The single has gained airplay throughout the UK and the States and a series of very positive blogs have reviewed it also. Aidan will be appearing on Dave Hammond’s Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105 on Monday 11th February from 9pm where he will be chatting about the band and the plans for the forthcoming album.

DOMINIC CARLTON JONES

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As well as receiving praise for his opening set at the Weimar gig mentioned above Dominic Carlton Jones has won the Salford Star Best Band/Act 2018 Award for his album “Salford Punk Poetry Sadness Death New Life”, which judges hailed  as “inspired and original”. Salford Star Live Editor Ian Leslie presented the award to Dominic at the end of his set last Friday. A full report from the Salford Star can be found here. Many congratulations to Dominic from everyone in The Kennel. Thanks to Michelle Leslie for the photograph.

CRAB DANCE GI’S INTRODUCE DAYGLO DAVE

Danny Cusick (KIT B, The Hidden Gem) side project Crab Dance GI’s have a new single out on March 15th called “Dayglo Dave”. The first of two forthcoming singles from this project the song is the tale of a regressive music fan who “only listens to New Wave” and will countenance any other forms of music. Watch this space for more details!

 

 

GIGS

Details of forthcoming gigs featuring German Shepherd Artists:

February
9th – Scissors play NCI Club Cambridge (Cambridge Central Aid charity fundraiser, Scissors headlining, other acts TBC)
10th – Pearl Divers play Fab Cafe, Manchester
15th – Bouquet of Dead Crows play Bury Sound at Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds
23rd – Electric Cheese and Four Candles play The Railway, Chorley
24th – Positronik play Fab Cafe, Manchester

March
2nd – Four Candles, Johann Kloos and Rose Niland play the Peer Hat, Manchester, a benefit for Macmillan nurses as a memorial for Modal Roberts
2nd – Pearl Divers play Malaga Drift, Eccles Town Centre (Near the station and not far from German Shepherd HQ!)
2nd – Electric Cheese play The Village Inn, Skelmersdale
2nd – The Mind Sweepers play The Normandy, Dumfries
13th – Bouquet of Dead Crows play West Street Live Sheffield
15th – Adventures of Salvador play The Deaf Centre, Chester
16th – Bouquet of Dead Crows, The Scissors and Umbrella Assassins play The Smokehouse Ipswich.
16th – The Mind Sweepers play Midnight Breakfast Club at Bathgate.
23rd – Electric Cheese play The Ferret, Preston
29th – Bouquet of Dead Crows play The Blue Moon Cambridge + Burning Codes, Basement Strippers & Matt Hammond

April
20th – Toska Wilde plays The Venue, Southend On Sea

His mother called him Phil

We were saddened to hear of the passing of Modal (Phil) Roberts yesterday. He was one of the earliest collaborators to the German Shepherd  experiment and released two EPs and a joint project with Ian Moss (in his Ion-Morph phase)  before leaving us to form his own label “Altitude Records” as well as embark on a range of projects including “Alt. Karaoke” and “Polymatherapy”.  Always an entertaining and rule breaking DJ his radio shows often supported and promoted our early releases

Probably best known for his work with the latter versions of Marc Riley’s Creepers and the remarkable and memorable track “Derbyshire”  Modal was a talented multi-instrumentalist, artist, and film-maker.

We have set all Modals releases to pay what you want but and anyone does contribute to the music  we will donate the money to Cancer Research.

Modal

 

 

Mesmer Disciples in search for new singer

Leeds Based Psychedelic band, Mesmer Disciples are looking for a new singer.

In a recent statement the band say:

“We are not seeking someone to try and replicate our previous singer as we are open to a new approach . We have our own rehearsal space where we meet to jam, improvise, write and rehearse . Over the last year we’ve played with the likes on The Jim Jones and the Righteous Mind, The Fleshtones, Thee Hypnotics ,Snapped Ankles. Currently signed up with German Shepherd Records.”

Prospective vocals are asked to check us out the band on Facebook and through this recent interview with Backseat Mafia.

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Press…..
“Leaps out at you as an unctuous mix of Arthur Brown and Tex-Mex imbibing something mind expanding in an opium den in a Bill Burroughs tract. Moody, brooding and sensuous” – Aural Delights Blog

” creating an all-enveloping throbbing and entrancing psychedelic rock experience of two guitars, vocals, drums, and the occasional tamboura. Like a stoned early Cramps jamming with the Buffalo Springfield. Indeed – menacing, experimental and at times unhinged. Gorgeous, subversive, and completely mesmeric!” Micheal Canning, Music research Uk

“Musically they are moody, psychedelic, and gritty with tracks building in layers creating a truly menacing atmosphere” – Counterfeit magazine

“Their double guitar attack was brilliantly executed creating a blues-infused wall of sound, , the guitars and drums were rhythmically very tight and they all played brilliantly, one of the guitarists at hyper-speed. Mesmer Disciples are definitely a band to watch out for “- Leeds Music Scene

Interested vocalists should contact the band at :  Mesmerdisciples@hotmail.com

Four Candles get huge praise for Spiritual Rapture

The new Four Candles album has been getting loads of praise and some very positive reviews. Spiritual Rapture was released as a CD on 22nd June via our Bandcamp Page and will also be released digitally as three separate two-track singles in June, July and August.

Lead track “Strange Things Are Happening” has a video which has had over a 1,000 streams and is now available on You Tube….

 

The bands gig at Manchester Meltdown on 23rd June, which was also the album launch was caught on video by Paul Forshaw….and reviewed by Emily Oldfield

 

Reviews of the album have come from Ged Babey via Louder Than War and also via Aural Delights.

The available stock CD is very low, although some copies have been held over for sale at gigs. Grab your CD now at our Bandcamp Page before they sell out.

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