Pickled Egg Records, in association with The Phoenix Arts Theatre, and Magic-Teapot present:

Eggstock! 2006

Sat June 24th
Phoenix Arts Theatre, Leicester
2pm to 11pm. Prompt start!
£13/£11(concs) on sale now!

10:15 Volcano the Bear
9:30 Now
8:45 Nalle
8:05 Zukanican
7:20 George
6:45 Dragon or Emperor
4:45 The Devil and Daniel Johnston (documentary film)
4:05 Super Bompers (ex Need New Body)
3:20 James Green (Big Eyes)
2:40 Black Carrot
2:10 The Seance (short film, with soundtrack by Oddfellows Casino)

Leicester-based Pickled Egg Records is one of the most sharp-eyed, adventurous independent labels around, releasing some of the best music of any label, anywhere. Eclectic to a fault, and firmly out of step with current trends, since it's inception in 1998, it has dedicated itself to redressing the worldís musical balance in favour of quirky genius, bent tunefulness, noisy playfulness, jazz turmoil, inventive retro-futurism and downright emotional heart-on-sleeve belief, hope and passion. In a world in which the musical balance is already, irretrievably, weighted down on the side of corporate flatulence, labels like Pickled Egg are so a priori unnecessary, and yet so a posteriori essential.

The label's roster is genuine quality. Artists like Philadelphia's Need New Body, Chicago-based Bablicon, Pop-Off Tuesday from Osaka, and Leicesterís very own Volcano the Bear, have tapped rich musical mines, mixing jazz, avant rock surrealism, and a punk rock approach.

This showcase celebrates the brilliance and diversity of the label's roster

Volcano the Bear was formed in May 1995, in Leicester, England, by Daniel Padden, Laurence Coleman, Nick Mott and Aaron Moore. These four musicians encountered frustrations with the limitations of traditional musical endeavors and sought an outlet that could defy convention. Volcano the Bear quickly became the platform for their total artistic freedom and personal expression, where they could explore collective ideas and interests in a new and inventive manner. The music that came forth from this collective ideology was a beautiful cross-section of the English underground of years past (Robert Wyatt, This Heat, Nurse With Wound) alongside the rhythms of Can, the trickery of Faust and a Residents-like surrealist bent. Volcano the Bear adapt these lofty inspirations into a sound that is distinctly their own creation, one that blurs the lines between songs, composition, noise and improvisation. This is the first time Volcano the Bear have performed in Leicester for 2 1/2 years, and the first time with Laurence Coleman and Daniel Padden for over four years. Pickled Egg released the 'official' debut Volcano the Bear album, 'Yak Folks Y'are' in 1999.

Nalle is the Glasgow based trio of Hanna Tuulikki (vocals, kantele, flutes), Aby Vulliamy (viola) and Chris Hladowski (bouzouki, clarinet). All three group members have also performed with Scatter, and Chris and Aby play in The One Ensemble of Daniel Padden, amongst other projects. Nalle play an exotic selection of stringed and percussive instruments in a style that's tinged with hints of North African, Eastern & Northern European musics. You might call this "folk", although that falls short of describing the beguiling noise they make together. Pinning Hanna's voice down in a few words is the hardest part of all... at once she can sound childlike, and as though she's a conduit for some ancient force from the depths of a stone-age well! Nalle make music that is at once personal, haunting, and utterly idiosyncratic. Their debut Pickled Egg album, 'By Chance Upon Waking', was described by Brad Rose in Foxy Digitalis magazine as "easily the best thing I've heard in 2006 thus far, and I reckon it's going to be hard for anything to come close"

George are a Manchester-based duo of great sensitivity and originality, both in their composing skill and their choice of instrumentation. Often compared to Low, but a studied eccentricity percolates their music, pitched somewhere between folk electronica and sepia-hued melancholy. Instrumentally, the duo displays an antiquarian's magpie methodology - their vintage sense of otherness occupying broadly similar territory to Pram. However, Suzy Mangion's voice cuts through the muggy layer of postmodernism to deliver songs that beautifully capture a sense of loss - fragile and heart-rending in places, but very English and underplayed, never overblown. George are possibly the only visionary, quality act currently coming out of Manchester. The group have released two albums on Pickled Egg.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a stunning portrait of a musical and artistic genius who nearly slipped away. Daniel Johnston, a manic-depressive genius singer/songwriter/artist has spent the last 25 or so years exposing his heartrending tales of unrequited love, cosmic mishaps, and existential torment to an ever-growing international cult audience. Initiates, including a healthy number of discerning musicians and critics, have hailed him as an American original in the style of bluesman Robert Johnson and country legend Hank Williams. A growing number of artists - among them Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, former Velvet Underground drummer Mo Tucker and even Johnny Depp! - have covered Danielís songs. Director Jeff Feuerzeig exquisitely depicts a perfect example of brilliance and madness going hand in hand with subject Daniel Johnston. As an artist suffering from manic depression with delusions of grandeur, Daniel Johnston's wild fluctuations, numerous downward spirals, and periodic respites are exposed in this deeply moving documentary, and portrait of madness, creativity and love. Pickled Egg Records released Daniel's 'Rejected Unknown' double LP in 2000, as well as a brace of now very rare and collectable 7" singles.

Super Bompers is the latest incarnation of Tookie Sherman, of Philedelphia spazzcore meister's, Need New Body. Tookie Sherman is currectly resident in Berlin, whilst Need New Body take one of their periodic sabbaticals. Tookie Sherman was a founder member of Need New Body, and a major contributor to the group's artistic direction. The band were hand-picked by David Pajo of Slint to play at the February 2005 All Tomorrow's Parties festival, which by common consent, they took completely by storm. Anyone who was lucky enough to witness their blinding set at Leicester's Looking Glass that same month, will surely concur that Need New Body are one of the most awesome and inventive bands around today, and the Tookie Sherman set will be one of the most anticipated of the entire show. Pickled Egg released all three Need New Body albums between 2001 and 2005.

James Green is the brainchild behind Sheffield/Leeds-based ensemble, Big Eyes, who, over the past four or five years, have become something of a Pickled Egg houseband, releasing no fewer than four albums for the label. Big Eyes have recently undergone something of a musical revamp, and have just released a new album, 'Do the Musiking' on Pickled Egg, under the 'The Big Eyes Family Players' moniker. This 29-track collaborative epic features contributions from numerous musical talents, including James Yorkston, James William Hindle, Rachel Grimes (The Rachelís), Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk and A Hacksaw, Bablicon) and Suzy Mangion (George). James will be performing solo, with one or two possible special guests, and those familiar with the Big Eyes discography will recognise James' unmistakeable grasp for simple, affecting melody, presented with an honest, confessional simplicity, which commands attention. By consciously limiting himself to the acoustic guitar, James has developed a sound that might complement the New Folk troubadours currently emerging from the US, such as Jack Rose or Ben Chasny (Six Organs of Admittance), but with a lightness of touch almost absent in any of those guitarists' work. Let it be said that this is closer to the work of Mick Turner (Dirty Three), John Williams, Bert Jansch, Eric Satie or Debussy than Fahey, Kottke, Basho or other names so often paraded but rarely equalled.

Liverpool 6 piece Zukanican have been likened to an unholy hardcore collision between Can, The Soft Machine and Art Ensemble of Chicago. Theremin battery, skippy keys, s-bending bass, drill pattern drums, siren organ in continuum, other pulses muscling in on the action, a diversion into free-funk with sci-fi white noise cutting across. Their free-flowing improvisations, tasty Krautrock grooves and jazz flourishes, paint a huge aural canvas with thick layers of colours borrowed from such luminaries as John Coltrane, Sun Ra and Bablicon. Areas of free form ectoplasm within shifting structures. Ghostly phosphorescent footsteps lead through darkened corridors of atomized attic space and hoot owl operatics. Zukanican's 10" mini album, 'E5number' was released on Pickled Egg in 2003, and the group's debut full-length album, 'Horse Republic', is released in June, also on Pickled Egg.

Now are an east London based ensemble, who fuse elements of krautrock, free jazz, lo-fi, synth pop and music from various ethnic sources, to create their own unique, highly inventive sound. In Scar studios London, in 1999, songwriter Justin Paton met drummer Giles Narang during weekly jam sessions and asked him if he'd be interested in playing some of his songs in a new band. Justinís incorporation of home made lo-fi with intricately crafted songs, combined with Giles' understated relentlessness and intense attention to detail would create the basis for the Now-sound. The pair arranged regular rehearsals in Giles' basement, and with various friends helping out on other instruments, Now was born. Depending on the audience and venue, Now play a range of styles from experimental improvised sounds to rhythmic, dance-y, driving pop music that often transforms into extended percussive jams in which the audience sometimes participates. Now could be described as catchy, contemporary, inventive, exotic, melodious and harmonious 21st century pop music. Now release their debut album, 'Frisbee Hot Pot' on Pickled Egg in June.

'The Sťance' is a short film by Brighton filmmaker, Toby Amies, featuring a soundtrack from Oddfellows Casino. Filmed in black and white, 'The Sťanceí follows the demise of legendary Victorian freakshow host, Ambrose Oddfellow, as drink, tragedy and the advent of picture-houses force him to host phoney seances for the gullible aristocracy of Brighton. But who knows what can happen when dabbling with the forces of darkness... The cast includes former Salvador Dali model Drako Zarhazar (as Ambrose Oddfellow), Michael Attree (the world moustache championship holder), Dave Mounfield (portly comedian and nice chap) and the legendary Heidi Heels.

Dragon or Emperor are the awesome two-piece lightning-bolt drums & bass assault of Aaron Moore (Volcano the Bear, Songs of Norway) and Stewart Brackley (Black Carrot, Songs of Norway) on bass guitar/vocals. Somewhat akin to a geeky Lightning Bolt in charity shop suits loosening up and playing jazz, with additional manic Pere Ubu-style vocalisations. Aaron Moore beats absolute hell out of his drumkit, whilst the Brackley embarks on daring fretless excursions to the absolute edges of what constitutes a rhythm. An enormous sound that marries their intense mixture of fun and chaos.

Black Carrot hail from the sleepy market town of Market Harborough, where they have clearly evolved in splendid isolation. A trio with drums, bass and saxophones, they play a fierce, largely improvised set of what they themselves style krautrock-inspired space jazz folk. Certainly, if you have any fondness for Can or Faust, or perhaps more recently the American band Morphine, you are going to find something to love about Black Carrot.

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