Taylor John’s House in 2011

(Belated) Happy New Year to all of you!

The team at Taylor John’s Music & Arts Centre would all like to thank everyone who made the events at The Tin Angel, Taylor John’s House itself and St John the Baptist’s Church so memorable. We hope to see you again – and many others – coming through our doors this year. You can look back at all the documented shows on this site if you so wish, but we’d like to take a moment of your time to get you looking forward to 2011, and at our current programme of events. Godspeed you!


We start our year of musical discovery with a rather marvellous musical treat – take one of psychedlic folk’s founding fathers, team him up with the unofficial antifolk laureate, and you have the Jeffrey Lewis & Peter Stampfel Folk Show coming to TJH on Tuesday 25th. (That’s next week folks – do not forget!) We’ve had the pleasure of putting Jeffrey’s shows on in the past and seeing him with one of the founding members of the Holy Modal Rounders and The Fugs should be something you’d treasure for the rest of your life. Friday 28th sees the seasonly suitable cold(wave) band Terror Bird bringing their dark synth pop to The Tin Angel, with support from local noiseniks Bad Horse and Resurrection Men.


On Saturday 5th, Taylor John’s House welcomes ex-Fairport Convention fiddler Dave Swarbrick, a man who has genuinely earnt the right to be used in the same breath as the word “legend”. For nearly 50 years, Swarbs (as he is affectionately known) has been taking British folk music forward in leaps and bounds, and is in the middle of a creative purple patch, which isn’t bad for a guy who was (erroneously) pronounced dead in 1997. Wednesday 16th see new Tin Angel Records signing Charlie Parr bring the blues to TJH – hopefully the hellhound on his trail is kept on a leash…of course, Charlie is an amazing live performer come hell or high water, so this show should be a no-brainer – grab those tickets! TJH reopens on Sunday 20th for a performance by Duke Garwood, a man described by Q Magazine as making “Will Oldham sound like Engelbert Humpledink”. (Yes, Q is not exactly something we should look at as a high mark of musical discourse, but you have to admit that that’s a hell of a quote.) Fuzzed-out blues aplenty there. Wednesday 23rd will see The Tin Angel host jazz improv quartet HAQ, who will add some good ol’ skronk to your midweek. Friday 25th sees the return of the much loved Friday Night Dole Club, and what a bill you Dole Clubbers have – DON’T MOVE! headline with white hot support from Charles Dexter Ward and the Imagineers, Shackletons and The Hot Knives. The weekend starts right there!


Just the one date signed in at the moment, but a good one nonetheless – the soprano of Joel Thibodeau, aka Death Vessel, has left its impression on many a listener, as have support tours with Iron & Wine, Jónsi and Low. Thibodeau’s UK tour reaches Taylor John’s House on Thursday 3rd.


Friday 8th sees Canadian indie rock up-and-comers In Flight Safety crash land into The Tin Angel for a FREE show, so if you’re remotely taken by Canadians and/or indie rock, get smart and get there as early as possible! Saturday 23rd sees TJH plays host to The Little Annie Band, fronted by Little Annie, aka Annie Anxiety. Annie performing with Baby Dee at the Tin Angel Records Christmas party was a massive hit – come to this show to see why. Support comes from another new Tin Angel Records signing in the shape of ( r ) (the alias of the much easier to Google Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo).


As with March, only one in the book so far, but again it’s a good one, and it’s more superlative Canadian indie! This time it’s Zeus, who headlined at The Tin Angel back in November to an incredibly receptive crowd. They return to Coventry at Taylor John’s with what promises to be another standout performance. Tickets on sale soon!

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Low + Paul Thomas Saunders

Wednesday 17th November

Low + Paul Thomas Saunders

St John the Baptist’s Church

“But men must know, that in this theatre of man’s life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on” – Francis Bacon

A full house has braved the inclement November weather and spilt onto the floor space in St John the Baptist’s Church, where Paul Thomas Saunders (plus band) kicks off proceedings with the reverb-soaked ‘Death of a Sport’s Personality’. In fact, shoegaze suits itself well to the church’s acoustics, and the FX chains associated with the genre help lift Saunders’ material to some fairly stratospheric heights that it might not have reached with a dry signal. His songs burn slowly as if they were gentle embers rather than explode like a volatile tinderbox, although when he sings of “bodies on the ground”, you could expect the roof of the church to open and let the rain on in. It’s not quite on the level of a second coming, but as opening acts go, Saunders plus band are a nice, if acquired, taste.

Most Low shows are often referred to as quasi-religious experiences, and the gospel-invoking pleas of ‘Lordy’ is a fitting way to start. Whilst this short UK tour (this is the final date of a run of three shows) is seen as an opportunity to road test new material earmarked for the band’s ninth studio album, there’s plenty of golden oldies on show – ‘Silver Rider’ slowly swirls into its majestic wordless chorus, whilst the crunchy distortion on tonight’s rendition of ‘Dinosaur Act’ should dispel the notion that they only do quiet numbers. (Judging by the new material, frontman Alan Sparhawk’s amps aren’t going to go up to 11 any time soon, mind.) Finishing the main set with “a prayer for the church” in the shape of the brooding ‘Murderer’ from 2007’s Drums And Guns, the slow-motion moves that made them so iconoclastic in the mid-90s are now keeping an audience of 300 men and women rapt, as if they were watching a performance of angels.

Photos from resident Taylor John’s snapper B-JAMMIN can be found by clicking here.

Low’s ninth studio album is expected to be released in the first half of 2011 on Sub Pop Records.


Friday 12th November


St John the Baptist’s Church

“I am interested in the study of music and the discipline of music and the experience of music and music as a esoteric mechanism to continue my real intentions” – Anthony Braxton

The grand piano at St John the Baptist’s Church probably hasn’t ever been subjected to the preparation of someone in the ilk of Volker Bertelmann, aka Hauschka, but that’s all changed. Tape, recycled aluminium from candle holders, ping pong balls – all these and a whole household’s worth of objects are attached to the piano strings, leading to the sort of tonal varieties that would have caused a classical music riot a century ago. Thankfully, we’re in the 21st century and tonight’s crowd are a bit more mannered.

Hauschka’s most recent release, Foreign Landscapes, saw him team up with the Magic Magic* Ensemble from San Francisco to enhance his signature prepared piano with orchestral flourishes. Playing solo tonight, one might expect some of the colour of that release to be diminshed. Far from it; if anything, being stripped of a string backing helps to focus in on Bertelmann’s considerable talent as a pianist, and how all the objects in his toolbag (often given to him by fans, as he explains in a moment between pieces) enhance his pieces rather than detract from them, such as the percussive elements of ‘Alexanderplatz’. Not only does Bertelmann have unique mechanisms for his music, but these mechanisms help him reach his heady intentions –  and the rest of us are more than happy to watch him reach them.

Foreign Landscapes is out now in various formats on Fat Cat Records’ modern classical imprint 130701.

Black Carrot feat. Baby Dee + DON’T MOVE!

Saturday 23rd October

Black Carrot feat. Baby Dee + DON’T MOVE!

Taylor John’s House

“Being a one of a kind means we are automatically the best in the world at what we do” – Victor Williamson

On a fresh, but not necessarily frigid night out in the depths of Coventry’s Canal Basin, the first act of a Tin Angel Records double bill sees Midlanders DON’T MOVE! attempt to raise the mercury with a set that’s mostly made up with songs from their forthcoming sophomore album (pardon the Americanism, pedantic English users). You can hear elements of the ’60s jangle-pop, funk and Italo-disco that combined to such good effect on their first record, and the lyrics of guitarist/singer-songwriter Mason Le Long are still steeped in romantic imagery (failed or otherwise) that could pass for scenes of quintessential Englishness, but there is a confidence in tracks such as ‘Compass Watch’, where the arrangement is almost tripping over itself, but regaining its balance via some wonderful musical pirouettes, that suggest that album no. 2 (it is, as of today, untitled) is going to be one to watch – or more to the point, listen to. They also work in a cover of The Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out (I’ll Be There)’ that holds its own – impressive stuff.

From Market Harborough via Grimm’s fairy tales, the usual Black Carrot attack that could leave an unprepared man staggering home in disbelief is dialled back a touch tonight. Their set is no less potent though, especially when fleshed out with the much beloved Baby Dee playing a supporting role with accordion. What would normally be your usual trip to the leftfield becomes something else altogether; Stewart Brackley’s stuttered vocal delivery on Dee’s ‘So Bad’ brings the song’s tales of domestic violence to life, along with all the accompanying monsters under the bed. Of course, Black Carrot know that they can make you move involuntarily with their grooves, and so songs like ‘Nervous Was My Information’ and former single ‘The One That Got Away’ work their spell, with clattering percussion and swaying bodies aplenty. It’s all proof that two one of a kinds can be something special together.

A Book of Songs for Ann Marie by Baby Dee and Milking Scarabs for Dough by Black Carrot are out now in multiple formats on Tin Angel Records. DON’T MOVE! are hoping to release their second album – the follow-up to The New Pop Sound Of… – in the early months of 2011.


Monday 13th September


The Tin Angel

“Enhver er sin egen lykkes smed” – Danish proverb, which roughly translates as “Don’t wait for luck. Create your own happiness.”

The name Slaraffenland (pronounced Sluh-raf-in-luhnd) translates from Danish into English as “the land of milk and honey”. Such a description brings to mind the musical equivalent of a technicolour paradise, and whilst there is the occasional cloud on the horizon, the Danish five-piece are a band whose songwriting is infused with colour and vibrancy. Within the walls of The Tin Angel, Slaraffenland give those assembled some glorious pop thrills with many a left turn, whether it be in the form of a tempo or time shift, well judged brass and woodwind lines or bursts of two-headed, four-armed percussion from Bjørn Heebøll and Jeppe Skjold. Like their fellow Danes Efterklang, who are probably the closest thing Slaraffenland have to musical neighbours (both bands have toured Europe and North America together), they are fans of multiple vocal harmonies coupled to big arrangements, an art which they refined with their most recent record We’re On Your Side, and the record that tonight’s highlights come from. ‘Open Your Eyes’ builds up to a storming climax as the titular refrain is hollered out over rolling electronics and sampled vocals, whilst ‘Postcard’ swings in spite of its theme of a life spent on the road. It’s gorgeous stuff, worthy of a land of milk and honey.


Charlie Parr + Frank Fairfield

Tuesday 7th September

Charlie Parr + Frank Fairfield

Taylor John’s House

An America of railroad spikes, moonshine-laced county fairs and old-time radio is on offer tonight at Taylor John’s House, and first up is the well dressed blues-folk of Frank Fairfield. Armed with a banjo, a guitar and a fiddle, and singing into a mic reminiscent of those family-friendly 1940’s radio show, Fairfield’s well-known 78″ collection has definitely informed his musical style, with a voice that sits in the middle ground between Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie and an instrumental prowess that the vast majority of modern blues and folk ‘stars’ would happily trade the flowers in their hair for. Fairfield’s set is riddled with tuning issues (the sun in the Taylor John’s sky that is the world’s hottest stage light may be to blame here) and forgetting one song entirely, a move that is saved by a swift change into another song with a clever, self-deprecating anecdote. The perfect Frank Fairfield set must be something pretty special, but I’d recommend you go and see a messy, error-strewn one any day of the week.

Minnesota’s Charlie Parr may not be as dapper as Fairfield, but his blues are still better than most other folks blues. Sat hunched over his Dobro and sporting a beard so magnificent it should receive special conservation status, Parr’s music is not obsessed with aping the blues in the way that younger musicians would be, but is tapped from a personal source that makes it more believable, and more likely to tug at your interest – and at  your heartstrings if you give it enough time. The down-and-outs of society come through strongly in his songwriting; the drunks, the defrocked preachers, the man whose woman done wrong – all have a place in Parr’s America, whether it’s in the gutter, jail, or the asylum. Down in the coal vaults, these songs slip down as well as a bottle of the best moonshine illegally grown in Minnesota. Wonderful stuff.

Taylor John’s House’s resident photographer B-JAMMIN drove for four hours from Bournemouth to make this show; click here and show some love for his snaps.

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby + Matthew Campbell

Saturday 21st August 2010

Wreckless Eric & Amy Rigby + Matthew Campbell

Taylor John’s House

Tonight’s bill covers over thirty years of musical know-how. Representing the present day is support act Matthew Campbell, known for his multi-instrumentalist role in DON’T MOVE! Armed with a piano-accordion – something that seems unwieldy to the eye, let alone the player – and dexterous musicianmanship, Campbell puts his songs through a blender of folk, punk and Brechtian dramatics. The result is something akin to an escaped asylum patient putting down his “The end is nigh” placard and joining the cast of The Sound of Music. Lines like “the suicide angels have chopped off their wings” come wrapped in tunes so jaunty it’s disarming. Very good stuff.

For the older folks – and the young who may be a bit more in the know – the night’s big draw is Wreckless Eric and Amy Rigby, who come together to play rock n’ roll at its most stripped back – mostly two guitars, three or four chords and some sweet and seductive hooks – and it’s an effective strategy for the most part. When the UK/US duo add flourishes such as pre-set drum machine patterns and keys, they strike musical gold; the lulling flow of ‘Bobblehead Doll’ is an obvious standout in this regard. those of a certain age are anticipating a rendition of Eric’s 1974 hit ‘(I’d Go The) Whole Wide World’, and are rewarded in due course, but the biggest round of applause goes to set closer ‘Round’, a song that appropriately summarises the changes over thirty years since ‘…Whole Wide World’ that have seen the musical journeys of Eric and Amy dovetail into their current setup. Reckless? Certainly not. Worth hearing? Definitely, yes.