Wednesday, November 15, 2017

3 Feet High & Rising: Height Keech-backing Cornish "Abstract Deconstructed Folk" Band Zapoppin' Unleash Frantic Live at THE CURSE (Last Shop Recs/Damnsonic)



Earlier this month, I got a cold-sent email from a fellow named Luke Richards entitled "Zapoppin' (UK band just been touring with Height.)" Luke was of course, referring to Height Keech's recent MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN UK TOUR with Zapoppin' AKA his own band spanning six consecutive dates from 10.18-23. Luke Richards went on to mention that Height suggested I might be interested in their new album, Live at THE CURSE, for potential review on The Witzard. Zapoppin' not only opened for Height, but backed him "with drums and organ on his sets" playing new arrangements of his MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN compositions and various tracks from throughout his storied discography. Zapoppin' is a self-described Powerskiffle/"Electrick" organ and drums duo consisting of Luke Richards & Matthew Collington hailing from Falmouth, Cornwall (England.) When asked what they might cite as their greatest sources of influence and inspiration, Richards replied: "we started out being into things like Minutemen, Daniel Johnston, those Anti-Folk bands, Primus, and Tom Waits. With [Live at THE CURSE], we've looked to Suicide, Butthole Surfers, The Make-Up... obviously, there's a lot of 60's Pop and Rock in there and New Wave. We listen to a lot of music!" It's quite hard to peg a genre-blending/creating band like Zapoppin', but if pressed, I would compare them to Gypsy Punks Gogol Bordello, Modest Mouse frontman Isaac Brock's short-lived side-project Ugly Casanova, wailer Tom Waits, and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds.


Live at THE CURSE was recorded during Zapoppin's Spring 2016 UK tour and documents their show at "legendary Cornish venue," The Curse; consisting of 10 frantic tracks whizzing by in about 30 minutes, Live at THE CURSE features beefed-up sections from Parma Violence (2009,) The First Four Singles & Other Pearly Wotnot (2011,) Ugly Musick (2013,) and St. Kreun: Songs of Land & Waterways (2016) as well as two previously-unreleased recordings, "Look It Up In a Book" and "Theme from a Spelling Bee." Zapoppin's Live at THE CURSE is now available on Last Shop Recs & Damnsonic and was released just in time for this year's Cassette Store Day, which fell on October 14, 2017. Limited edition cassette tapes and "good ol' fashioned compact discs, like from the 90's" were pressed up to celebrate the occasion; both formats are still available on Bandcamp for a limited time. Each CD and cassette purchase will be accompanied by a complimentary digital album. A few short, cell phone-shot clips from Height Keech's MIND MOVES THE MOUNTAIN UK TOUR with Zapoppin'—including a spirited rendition of Height's recent "DEAD RIDER, RIDE ON"—are currently available to view on Dragonfruit's Facebook page. It appears as though organ player Luke Richards and drummer Matthew Collington are presently holed up in the studio working on Zapoppin's proper follow-up to 2016's St. Kreun: Songs of Land & Waterways.

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