Steve Davis' Interesting Alternative

I’m so alternative it hurts!

Once again I’ve decided to walk the high wire by preceding my ‘best of 2014’ column with my ‘2015 preview’ one. I get inside info. Don’t be jealous, just accept that I’m a friend to the stars and you’re not. Especially those in Stars In Battledress. However, when I contacted Richard Larcombe, his excuse for not getting his new project Lost Crowns underway sooner was: “I was supposed to write loads this time last year while my wife Sarah was watching I’m A Celebrity, but you went in and I just had to watch it. I still haven’t caught up!”

Now I’ve heard some bullshit in my time, but this is the worst excuse since Alex Higgins complained that, while the referee wasn’t actually standing in his line of sight, he was in his line of thought for the next shot!

Luckily, other artists have their finger on the pulse, rather than the remote. In January, Magma release Slag Tanz, a studio version of what has been an astonishing recent live piece. Other releases by heavyweights of the Zeuhl/RIO scene include Nordic god Simon Steensland’s A Farewell To Brains, Roger Trigaux’s ninth album with his band Present, and UK monsters Guapo.

Once again, the evergreen Italian label Altrock will be featuring heavily on my PayPal statement. The “orchestral Zappa”-inspired Breznev Fun Club Il Misantropo Felice should be “i testicoli di un cane”, while the amazing Yugen will issue their fourth album. Hopes are high for another folk-tinged masterpiece when Greece’s finest export Ciccada release The Finest Of Miracles, the follow-up to their debut (voted progarchives’ eighth-best album of 2010).

Those in the inner inner circle (the one even I’m not allowed in yet) are raving about the new quintet line-up of Upsilon Acrux and predict Sun Square Dialect will go viral on Spotify and could possibly net the band tens of cents.

Mouth-watering stuff from the land of gastronomy due to arrive through the channel tunnel include Camembert’s Negative Toe and third albums by Frank Fromy’s Unit Wail and François Thollot’s Scherzoo.

In Blighty, I’m drooling at the thought of new releases by Mark Cawthra’s Redbus Noface (Ghostly On Either Side) and Craig Fortnam’s North Sea Radio Orchestra, whose new album has the working title Kammermusik.

On the reissue front, the amazing Henry Cow spin‑off Kew. Rhone. gets remastered, while “unearthed” from the vaults is a CD/DVD of a Soft Machine concert from 1974 in Switzerland. Trumping the above, though, must be Bob Drake, who releases the brilliantly titled 20 Nitre-Encrusted Hits! Hopefully Santa got you some Our Price gift tokens?