MARK BREND – Undercliff

Mark Brend (Ghostwriter) has just released his debut novel titled Undercliff via Hornet Books.Described as ‘a compelling mystery exploring the difficulty in telling good from evil, and natural from supernatural.’

Synopsis – It’s the summer of 1972, and 30-something divorcee Martyn returns to London after some years away. He joins the Olive Grove, a religious community, where he forms a relationship with Amelia. Over time Martyn becomes suspicious of the Olive Grove’s leaders, a pair of apparently ordinary men who can speak in perfect unison, known as the Two. A sequence of ambiguous events might indicate that the Two have malign purposes, though Martyn cannot be sure. These suspicions come to a head when Amelia breaks off with Martyn and appears to vanish. He travels to Devon, where the Olive Grove has a retreat house, in search of Amelia and the truth about the organisation. There, events take several disturbing and unexpected turns.

Mark has also been working on some new music with his pre-Ghostwriter band Fariña which should see a release later in the year on Spanish label Hanky Panky. In the meantime, check out Undercliff, 1973.

The novel can be purchased at your local bookstore or alternatively you can order from Waterstones or Amazon.

ANTHONY REYNOLDS – In A Café At The End Of The World

In A Café At The End Of The World is a digital three track EP release by ANTHONYMES (Anthony Reynolds and Ian M Hazeldine (Antonymes)

Written by Anthony Reynolds with additional text by Charlotte Greig.

Paul Morley writes in the press release – “Together, before it was too late, it was inevitable that there would be an intensely attentive meeting of minds and moods between Anthony Reynolds and Antonymes.  Both outsiders locked inside a dream-world of remembering, laughter and forgetting where keeping yourself to yourself perversely leads to many forms of collaboration, connection and communication.  Both in their own ways obsessed with strategically solving mysteries by never coming to a conclusion.  Both with names beginning with ‘a’, names that fuse together as elegantly as their music, their point of view, their modestly magnificent approach to glamour, and romance, and decreasing volume.  ‘A’ for affinity. ‘I’ for infinity.  Together, without losing their isolation, the lost, disappearing worlds of Anthony Reynolds, a singer, clandestine author, dreamer, fan, philosopher, ex-pop star who was never a pop star… and Antonymes, a mysterious meditative ensemble of one, of no-one, both gradual specialists in serenity, from the same place, and near enough the same time.”

Purchase it at Anthony’s Bandcamp.


Youth Of America is the songwriting project of Simon Shaw from Lucky Luke and Trembling Bells. Featuring all of the Bells, plus singers Lucy Sweet (Lucky Luke) and Sophie Sexon (Second Hand Marching Band), Youth Of America is a reconfiguration of sorts, re-imagined power pop infected with sunshine psyche. It was born out of his love of US West Coast power pop (The Go-Gos, Bangles, Redd Kross etc), and an ongoing obsession with US counterculture films from the same period. The 10 track album YOA Rising was released at the beginning of the year and is available via their Bandcamp.

IMMIGRANT – Wounded Healer. New album.

The 28th October 2017 sees the release of Immigrant’s Wounded Healer through Oscarson, on both vinyl and CD.  A special, numbered vinyl edition has already sold out in pre-sale.

The standard edition vinyl comes with a download code and six pages of lyrics and pictures.  The CD is limited to 75 copies and comes in a handmade gatefold cardboard sleeve with 20 page booklet, high glossy pictures and lyrics.  Copies can be purchased here.

News archives: Ghostwriter

THE PALACE OF LIGHT – Beginning Here and Travelling Outward. 2 x CD Reissue
July 15, 2017 by Chaffinch

As Stewart Lee points out in his notes for this long overdue reissue, the 80’s were different times.  You had to live through them to “convey to the contemporary consumer the sheer unknowable mysteriousness of recently distant popular culture in the pre-internet age… Arthur Lee’s name was just a cryptic lyric in a Lloyd Cole single, Bert Jansch was ignored once a month in the back room of my local, and the idea that Nick Drake would one day soundtrack a Volkswagen Cabrio advert was absurd.” You could describe the Palace of Light by simply mentioning those names, or others like Scott Walker, the Go-Betweens and Cyrus Faryar.

The album got some great reviews, but though the band played a bunch of live shows in London and did some more recordings no more music would be released as the Palace of Light.  With the addition of new drummer Tom Anthony (replacing Charlie Llewellin), Geoff Smith, Matt Gale and Mark Brend quietly morphed into Mabel Joy.  In 1993 they released an album on Bam Caruso, the marvelous “Wish I Was” – also reissued by Hanky Panky Records – and disappeared shortly afterwards.  Matt and Mark went on to record two fine albums as Fariña in the late 90’s and early 00’s. Charlie joined the Austin alt country combo the Gourds and recently played with a reformed Maximum Joy.  These days Matt composes classical music, while Geoff is working on new material. But Mark has been the most prolific. In recent years his sonic explorations as Ghostwriter have gained him much critical acclaim, and he is also a noted music writer, having authored four books so far.

It’s now the 30th anniversary of the original release of “Beginning Here And Travelling Outward” and along with the remastered album, this Expanded Edition includes one rare B-side from the “City Of Gold” 12”; a bunch of previously unreleased studio recordings and demos recorded between 1987 and 1989; six live tracks recorded for a shelved mini-album on Bam Caruso (covers of Nick Drake, Tom Rush, Mickey Newbury, Tim Hardin…); the rare 1991 Catherine/Books single, privately pressed by the group and credited to Mabel Joy (reissued by Spring Records in 2011); and a brand new recording made last year by the original line-up.  Release date – 30th July 2017.

Available to order from Hanky Panky Records

Chaffinch recording artist launches debut novel – M R Brend

May 15, 2016 by Chaffinch

Ghostwriter - Dimensions

M R Brend has launched his debut novel Undercliff via crowdfunding publisher Unbound.  It’s a supernatural thriller set in the 1970s – and there’ll be some specially composed music with it.

As Mark Brend he has written five non-fiction books and contributed to many more.  His most recent book, The Sound of Tomorrow (Bloomsbury), which explores early commercial electronic music, was published in 2012.  He also works as a communications consultant in the charity sector, and occasionally as a music journalist.  As a songwriter/composer/recording artist Mark has released six albums under various artist names.  He currently records as Ghostwriter.

GHOSTWRITER – Mistaken For A Literary Man

July 10, 2015 by Chaffinch

Mistaken For A Literary Man

A new Ghostwriter compilation is now available as a download only.
Mistaken For A Literary Man pairs the four songs from the 2013 Chaffinch EP, Dimensions, with four previously unreleased songs from 2009-2014.

Featuring Tim Conway, Matt Gale, Jim Jupp and Adrian Ramsey.

GHOSTWRITER – Morrow. New album. December 2014.

December 6, 2014 by Chaffinch


Ghostwriter releases a new album with Michael Paine in December 2014.  The album is titled Morrow and is being released by Time Released Sound.

Michael Paine is a writer and musician, based in the West Country.  He was the main songwriter for The Becketts, an early 90’s indie band that recorded two albums and a handful of singles for Bad Girl and Virgin records.

Ghostwriter (Mark Brend) and Michael met in a bookshop in the shadow of Exeter cathedral.  Their album, Morrow, references the mid-20th century British Writer Phyllis Paul, and shares with her novels an interest in the ambiguous territory between natural and supernatural. Deploying piano, electric and acoustic guitar, flute, percussion, glockenspiel and organ with musique concrète textures and found sounds, Mark and Michael create a cryptic English pastoral noir, drawing variously on folk, evangelical hymns, jazz, Debussy and Maurice Deebank.

Morrow comes in both standard digipak and special editions.  The special edition of just 80 copies will come as a hand distressed hardcover booklet, collaged with vintage photos, 1930s wallpaper samples, a mounted, hand stamped jigsaw puzzle, and a typewriter addressed, stamped CD envelope – all in a handworked, 7” square translucent envelope.  Shop here.

Ghostwriter webpage

Time Released Sound

Norman Records – Top 10 Singles/EPs of 2013. Ghostwriter – Dimensions.

December 8, 2013 by Chaffinch

Ghostwriter - Dimensions

Ghostwriter’s Dimensions release has appeared in Norman Records’ Top 10 end-of-year list for 2013.  To see the full list visit Norman Records.

Mabel Joy – Wish I Was. Album re-released.

October 12, 2013 by Chaffinch

Mabel Joy

Mabel Joy’s cult classic album Wish I Was sees a welcome return via Spanish label Hanky Panky.  Originally released in 1993, the band featured Geoff Smith, Matt Gale, Tom Anthony and Mark Brend (Ghostwriter) who subsequently went onto form Farina.  Shindig! says of the band ‘in a world where The Fleet Foxes and The Leisure Society have sizeable cult followings, maybe their time has come’.  For more information visit Hanky Panky.

Ghostwriter Interview – Alien Jams, NTS Radio

August 3, 2013 by Chaffinch

Alien Jams

Back in March, Mark Brend/Ghostwriter was interviewed by Chloe Frieda during her Alien Jams show on NTS Radio.  The full show can be streamed or downloaded here.

Ghostwriter – The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association

June 16, 2013 by Chaffinch

Stange Sound

Ghostwriter’s (Mark Brend) The Continuing Adventures Of The Strange Sound Association has finally been made available via digital download.  This was initially released on CD by Second Language in 2010 and was limited to 200 copies.  It sold-out within a few weeks.

Partially based upon archive voice recordings, fragmentary texts and ‘imagined works’ by literary figures eminent (Arthur Conan Doyle, John Steinbeck), cult (Colin Wilson, John Cowper Powys) and arcane (Arthur Machen, Ivor Gurney), The Continuing Adventures… weaves ethereal atmosphere, wistful song and playful soundscape from a battery of instruments and sound sources, including dulcitone, persephone, harpsichord, autoharp, toy piano, modular synthesizer, recorder, banjo, accordion, bass, drums, sampler, miscellaneous voices and something called the brendonium.

Divided into three distinct ‘Chapters’: Music For Men Of Letters, Music For Imagined Technologies and Music For Flotsam and Jetsam, these mysteriously beguiling compositions run the gamut from frisky, jazz-flavoured vignettes to garden shed electronica and contemplative sound collages via Wicker Man folk and bygone soundtrack esoterica.  Beyond easy categorisation, this is music informed as much by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and the British Sound Archive as it is various currents in leftfield pop, electronica, folk and plunderphonics.

Brend is assisted in his endeavours by a number of additional musicians and collaborators, including multi-instrumentalists Tim Conway and Matt Gale (Farina), singer Suzy Mangion (Piano Magic, George) and analogue synth collector Darren Hayman (Hefner), among several others.  Ghostwriter’s debut album is very much a product of Brend’s own unique imagination and compositional vision, however.

Buy the album here.

There are also a couple of previously unreleased tracks from the sessions available for free at Soundcloud.

Ghostwriter – Dimensions EP. Review in The Wire.

May 16, 2013 by Chaffinch

thewire‘The solo project of Devon’s Mark Brend, Ghostwriter has an archaic/modern blend of elements that reminds me a bit of Paul Roland’s long-ago Gothic (not Goth) projects.  The EP is composed of a single track, broken into halves, documenting an imagined walk around London in the 1930’s.  Sparse keyboards and guitar, sound effects and theremin plus heavy atmosphere make for an odd, cinematic whole’.  Byron Coley, The Wire. 

Anthony Reynolds: news archive

Anthony Reynolds – keeping busy

May 24, 2017 by Chaffinch

Anthony Reynolds has been a busy man of late – he’s recently released the 3 track Adrift In Soho OST which seems to have sold out in days.  A lovely package it is too – an 8” lathe cut and CD package limited to just 50 copies.  VAN 314.

You can also get hold of a live 1999 Jack download here and a download to his soundtrack to Open My Eyes here.

He’s also produced an EP for Rachel Gill titled Day and Night Dreaming.

Fingers crossed for a 2017 release of Anthony’s A Painter’s Life.


December 20, 2014 by Chaffinch


Visit Anthony’s Bandcamp page here to purchase a 14 track collection of unreleased tracks, alternate versions of favourites and new tracks.

Memorial Concerts for Charlotte Greig

November 11, 2014 by Chaffinch

Charlotte 3

A varied cast of musicians and writers pay tribute to the work of the folksinger, songwriter, playwright and novelist who sadly died this summer.

Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff – 30 November 2014.  Book tickets here.

The Tin Tabernacle, London – 5 December 2014.

Charlotte Greig – Studies In Hysteria. New album.

May 19, 2014 by Chaffinch

Studies In Hysteria

Studies in Hysteria, the first album release by Dr Freud’s Cabaret, is a set of songs in the voices of Freud’s early patients. They’re an attempt to enter the psychic world of those patients, both the famous ones – such as The Wolf Man, The Rat Man, and Dora – and the more obscure, like Rosalie, the singer who came to him for help because she had lost her voice. Freud himself also makes an appearance, with an ode to cocaine, the wonder drug he thought he had discovered. There’s also a song from Anna O, the first psychoanalytic patient, who called the treatment ‘the talking cure’.

All of the songs are based on the actual texts of Freud’s case studies, often using exact the words and phrases that he’d noted down as he listened to his patients – tales of chimney sweeps, white wolves in walnut trees, crumpled giraffes, lost pince-nez, waltzing women, caged birds, burning houses, blackened breasts, and fountains of snow. He tried to make sense of what they told him – with mixed results – but he was revolutionary in that he actually listened carefully to what they said.

The songs were mostly written by Charlotte Greig, some co-written with Anthony Reynolds. In an early stage of the project, they performed the set as a duo on stage. When it came to making the album, Charlotte invited a number of other artists, mostly based in Wales, to sing the songs: Angharad van Rijswijk (Trwbadour), Euros Childs, Jon Langford, Laura J. Martin, Julie Murphy, and Richard James. A small band was formed, with Charlotte on piano and clarinet, Guto Dafis on melodeon, Eugene Capper on violin and viola, and Julian Hayman on guitar.

Anthony Reynolds – A Painter’s Life. New album in the works.

April 21, 2013 by Chaffinch

Anthony with guitar

Anthony Reynolds is currently working on his latest album titled ‘A Painter’s Life’.

For full details on this go to Pledge Music.

Anthony Reynolds – Loneliness Is The Engine Of The World EP

January 7, 2013 by Chaffinch

Anthony Reynolds EPAnthony’s follow-up to the fantastic Kingdom Of Me EP is out now.  Titled Loneliness Is The Engine Of The World EP, it is available for digital download from Amazon and iTunes.

It’s a five track belter – purchase it immediately.

New album from Anthony Reynolds – A World Of Colin Wilson

August 1, 2012 by Chaffinch

The Rocket Girl label release Anthony’s album ‘A World Of Colin Wilson’ on 20 August 2012.

The album can be pre-ordered via Rocket Girl’s website.

Anthony Reynolds – Life’s Too Long: reviews

April 18, 2012 by Chaffinch

Anthony Reynolds - Life's Too Long

The Anthony Reynolds’ career spanning retrospective has received many favourable reviews. Here’s a selection of the best.

MOJO ****

Two-CD retrospective of the gutter glamour genius of poet, author and former Jack front-man Reynolds, designed for “a two-hour car journey along motorways and B-roads.”

Andrew Male

Buzz Magazine *****

The 30 tracks on this double CD showcase literate Cardiff native Reynolds’ work since 1995 and features songs from his band Jack and Jacques, plus Reynolds as a solo artist. It includes the previously unreleased Lolita Elle and Maybe My Love Doesn’t Answer Anything In You Anymore (both recorded live in Paris) and the title track.  The singer/poet/writer’s heavily Cohen-influenced music sounds as fresh now as it did back in the mid-90’s; this compilation is a must-buy for any reynolds fan.


Record Collector ***

In the mid-90s, Anthony Reynolds fronted the band Jack and, later Jacques: both vehicles for his acerbic, gothic and usually chemically-altered missives, detailing the same kind of debauchery as Brett Anderson or

Luke Haines. But, just like Suede and The Auteurs, he never flirted with the themes or successes of Britpop. This best of, featuring plenty more Reynolds incarnations besides, can surely only be of interest to the most hardcore indie archaeologists, right?

Well, yes and no. The first disc sounds the most dated, but is also the more epic. Reynolds’ lyrics range from the nihilistic to the often hilariously mundane (the chorus of Yuka’s Life screams “Fax me!”). The production is sturdy, with Momus’ aural signatures often cropping up (he produced and collaborated). Disc Two brings texture. Blue Party, from Jacques’ 2000 album To Stars, is a rippling Kinksy delicacy, while B-side Beauty And Me finds vocal samples and drum loops adding further depth.

Anthony Reynolds has a devoted if small fanbase, but is perhaps faced with the problem of how to grow it.  Certainly Life’s Too Long will help if somehow stumbled across but, from the cover and title of this compilation alone, you suspect the man himself might not actually care.

Jake Kennedy

Norman Records ****

To be quite honest I’ve never really put a lot of time into Anthony Reynolds’s previous work as a solo artist or with former bands Jack and Jacques, so the prospect of reviewing this mammoth 30-song anthology compiling 16 years’ worth of material from the prolific Welsh singer-songwriter is a bit of a daunting one. On the bright side, though, it’s actually really good and leaves me quite surprised I’ve not given him more time previously. On here he’s effortlessly knocking out sweeping, cinematic indie pop with his rich, deep vocal delivery sounding totally comfortable and unforced. The integration of classical instruments sometimes reminds me of Luke Haines’s work, but without the snide, sneering cynicism that so divides people on Haines (I’m fiercely in the pro camp myself though). It’s quite theatrical and melodramatic and some of these songs really wouldn’t seem out of place in a stage musical, but with his smooth voice and some nice lyrical turns of phrase the quality is pretty consistent, so if that’s your kind of thing then I’d imagine this’ll really float your boat. Sample lyric: “Let’s take the pills from the shelf and slowly feed them to each other until there are none left.” Over the course of these two CDs it really paints the picture of a tortured poet stuck between being an indie rocker and a diva and landing somewhere between Divine Comedy and Vic Chesnutt. Affecting stuff.

The Quietus

The song ‘Cinematic’ name-checks Cocteau, Picasso and Warhol in the first lines before confessing, “I was never there, I only read the book, I only saw the film, I only dreamed the dream… until you and me”. So there, in, like, verse one, you’ve got high art, a dip into wilful bathos, and then a giddy swoop back up to lofty romance. It’s clever and it’s heart-felt and it’s a ride. Such winning melodrama resides in most of Cardiff-based Anthony Reynolds’ songs: they stand out, alone, above. They’re like giraffes in a world of grubs.

Jack – his alma mater – were one of Britain’s most underrated bands in the mid-to-late 90s. Usually compared to The Bad Seeds or Tindersticks (basically because they weren’t strangers to suit-jackets and violins), they had swagger and poise. Despite glowing reviews and a support tour with Suede they never quite caught on: too inclined towards the romantic and artistic, perhaps, for the pragmatic, Blair-ite era, where to be a lad was considered commendable. As Blur’s Mockney mannerisms and Oasis’ salt-of-the-earth blokery flourished, they were deemed too European, too well-read, ambitious, strange. Not indie-spindly enough. It was evident on all their records that they wanted to be musically huge while meaning something, and of course England loathes those who don’t pretend to have their feet planted firmly on the ground.

As former Jack vocalist Reynolds releases his vast, thirty-track Best Of double album, that band’s songs included still resound and roar with wit, wordplay and the wonderful arrangements of chief musician Matthew Scott. Selections from their albums Pioneer SoundtracksThe Jazz Age and (the ‘difficult’ farewell album of 2002) The End Of The Way It’s Always Been pine and prickle with fire and yearning. At their best, Jack combined the cerebral and the physical to a thrilling degree. The adrenalin of ‘Wintercomessummer’, the sexual charge of ‘White Jazz’ (for me, their pinnacle) and the love-under-a-microscope passion of ‘My World Versus Your World’ are several cuts above most game blowhards of the era and, were they to emanate from a new band today, would be eulogised to the skies. ‘Yuka’s Life’, too, is a beautiful thing. (‘Steaming’ and ‘Nico’s Children’ are sadly absent). It’s a pity that final ‘experimental’ album remains relatively overlooked here (though there’s a lovely live version (Paris, 2002) of ‘Maybe My Love Doesn’t Answer Anything In You Anymore’), but hunt it down for yourself and marvel at its fusion of clarity and confusion: the human condition.

Since the band’s demise, Reynolds has carved a niche for himself as one of Britain’s most undervalued singers and has been known to put on theatre tributes to everyone from Sigmund Freud to himself. Get past the comical-lovable levels of narcissism (one wonders if this package really needs over a dozen pictures of its author more than it needs a lyric sheet) and the work shines. Whether collaborating with Momus or the reclusive writer Colin Wilson (in a summit meeting of cult outsiders), he never knowingly shoots for less than galaxies. The songs continue to glorify and romanticise underdogs, losers, self-pity and, in one of his best solo works, from his very fine true-return-to-form 2007 album British Ballads, ‘The Disappointed’. Influenced by the literature of Bukowski and the Fantes, by Bowie and Sylvian, and by the artists he’s in recent years written well-received biographies about – Leonard Cohen, The Walker Brothers, Jeff Buckley – his gigantic voice reaches, against all odds, the epic quality for which the arrangements strain. There may be too many overblown funereal ballads on the second disc here, but ‘Io Bevo (I Drink)’ (co-written and produced by Gianluca Maria Sorace) flares with mischief (“I used to be somebody…I drink because God is dead”) and insight. Its opening couplet bears comparison with any you could name: “I drink because Keith Richards does and Madonna don’t, but should / I drink not to forget but to recall my childhood”. ‘Winterpollen’ (co-written and produced by Richard Bell, once – full disclosure – of my old 90s duo Scalaland) takes a subtler, David Gates/Bread direction. Cuts from the album Neu York show a Kraut-Kunst road half-travelled.  Everywhere, there’s a refusal to settle for the mundane, the OK, the quite good.  It’s all or nothing, or nothing.  Little wonder the rest of Europe – artier, sexier – embraces this artist with more warmth than bad-in-bed Blighty does.  At his own cost, Reynolds has always been impractically blind to the expedient benefits of fitting in, of downsizing to deliver, rubbing along with mediocrity, displaying false modesty, kowtowing to the herd-mentality. We have here a bona-fide provocateur, a gamer Gainsbourg, a Welsh Aznavour, a cut-price Cale, and would do well to realise it. Fortunately life is long – an arduous, unforgiving, distressing trek through heartache, frustration, the crushing of dreams and existential angst, as these louche, literate songs testify – so it’s never too late.

Chris Roberts


Anthony Reynolds really should be a household name such is the consistantly high quality of his recorded output over the last sixteen years, but in keeping with a clutch of other criminally overlooked British songwriters including Roger Quigley (Quigley, At Swim Two Birds, the Montgolfier Brothers), Simon Rivers (The Last Party, the Bitter Springs) and Davey Woodward (The Brilliant Corners, Experimental Pop Band) he, despite one or two skirmishes with the limelight, remains a relatively unmined seam.

The biggest clues to the sound and style of his music lie in the shape of the three published biographies he has written about the Walker Brothers, Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen respectively. It is no exaggeration to say that he is worthy of mentioning in the same breath of any of the aforementioned artists.

This compilation opens the lid on every area of his recorded career that has seen him release music under a string of monikers – Jack, Jacques and Anthony before finally settling on his own. Such is the volume of music available to choose from (Reynolds has released seven albums and countless EPs and singles) it must have been difficult to whittle things down to just thirty tracks, as even a sixty track retrospective would still have left a few gems off the final set list.

To assist the casual listener the tracks are roughly in chronological order starting with 4 Jack songs from the ‘Pioneer Soundtracks’ album that launched Reynolds career. They still sound fresh today with ‘Wintercomessummer’ in particular being a joy to hear again – I saw Jack play live back in 1995 when they had only released a couple of singles and have followed Reynolds career ever since.

The songs from the follow-up LP ‘The Jazz Age’ including the timeless ‘Cinematic’ are great tracks as are the trio of Jacques numbers that make up the first disc of this set.

The more dance-orientated songs from Jack third LP, ‘The End of the Way It Has Always Been’ that was released on the cool Les Disques Du Crepuscule record label feature heavily on the second disc along with a collection of more recent songs such as the truly stunning ‘The Disappointed’ from the 2007 ‘British Ballads’ LP. A couple of live tracks including the beautiful ‘Lolita Elle’ originally released on ‘The Jazz Age’ are also here to make this a brilliant introduction to potential new fans or a timely reminder to the enlightened as to the immense talent Anthony Reynolds is.

Dixie Ernill

OMH Music ****

Back in 2000 an album called To Stars, by a band named Jacques, showed off Anthony Reynolds’ Welsh croon of a voice slipping and sliding in a mixture of songs both upbeat and despairing. Blue Party and London Loves You, two of the best tracks from that album, perfectly represent the shabby-chic glory of the band’s sound and make for a pleasing in-road to Life Is Too Long: Songs 1995-2011, Reynolds’ double-disc career collection.

Reynolds has had many incarnations and almost as many record labels over the span of this retrospective, kicking off with the extraordinary Pioneer Soundtracks from the band Jack, with Reynolds and Matthew Scott at its core. Originally released in 1996 to great acclaim and then re-released in 2007 with additional tracks, it’s one of those albums that never grow stale. Rocking beats and poetic lyrics about love, death and drinking carry you with them, and inspired orchestration – with masses of judiciously used strings – creates an unforgettable sound. Filthy Names is as lush as it comes, in every sense – the voice at its best, the orchestration plaintive and beguiling. Biography Of A First Son rollicks along and White Jazz and Wintercomessummer play with sound and atmosphere.

The Jazz Age followed in 1998 with the incomparable song of lost love, 3 O’Clock In The Morning, the fun, name-dropping Cinematic that chronicles Reynolds’ love of literature (Charles Bukowski and John Fante are constant muses), the visual arts, and in particular European film-makers. These songs are never ordinary, and usually stuffed full of cultural references, some more obscure than others.

Things fell apart a bit after the end of his collaboration with Matthew Scott and the split from Too Pure, but there have been some memorable moments since, often on minor labels and very frequently released as EPs, so this collection is a real treasure chest bringing them together. From The End Of The Way It’s Always Been (2002) we have The Emperor Of New London, with the unforgettable voiceover by Dan Fante, son of John “ “I’m so fucking high death wouldn’t dare interrupt me now” – and Sleepin’ Makes Me Thirsty, a splendid lament to lost youth. The romantic If July Were A Kingdom is from Neu York (2004), the stately magnificence of The Disappointed from British Ballads (2007).

Reynolds’ experimental side is represented by Life Is All There Is, with the voice of the British philosopher and novelist Colin Wilson, and the sweet, early track Whilst High I Had This Premonition also makes the cut. There are a couple of terrific live versions from 2002 (Lolita Elle, Maybe My Love Doesn’t Answer Anything In You Anymore), and rarities such as Beauty And Me, from one of the many EPs. And the final, and title, track is a new song that returns to the glorious, romantic melancholy that is the hallmark of this complex, talented and sometimes infuriatingly self-destructive artist.

A treat for Reynolds’ hardcore fans, and a brilliant introduction for those who have yet to be sucked into this poetic and complex world, Life Is Too Long: Songs 1995-2011 makes the case for Reynolds’ poetic canon of work as one replete with many an underappreciated gem.

Helen Wright

Froggy Delight

Les fans d’Anthony Reynolds le savent. L’ex-leader de Jack, groupe de pop anglais qui connut son heure de gloire dans les années 90, n’a jamais réellsement quitté l’actualité musicale.

Pourtant, sa carrière faite de hauts (petite célébrité pendant la période Jack) et de bas (pas mal d’errances ensuite, un désert qui est passé par la campagne anglaise et le soleil espagnol) n’a jamais réellement été interompu et de collaborations en rééditions, en passant par deux albums solo et l’écriture de quelques biographies (notamment sur les Walker Brothers et sur Léonard Cohen), le Gallois se retrouve aujourd’hui à sortir (enfin) une compilation de son travail de 1995 à 2011, intitulée de façon très optimiste Life’s too long.

Ce double album, avec un très joli livret (préférez la version disque à la version numérique donc) est avant tout un disque d’amour. Dédié à sa compagne Cathy dont le portrait orne par ailleurs la pochette de Kingdom Of Me, EP tiré de cette compilation, ce disque est avant tout une sorte d’hommage, de présent amoureux de Reynolds à celle qui partage ses jours lui offrant le meilleur de ce qu’elle aime, parmi ses très nombreuses compositions.

Excellente occasion pour nous de retrouver ou découvrir 30 morceaux remis légèrement au goût du jour. Il y a de tout sur cet album : de vieux titres incontournables, des morceaux plus récents, des ballades, des chansons plus énergiques, anecdotiques ou indispensables.

Les quelques incontournables sont là comme “White jazz” mais manque tout de même “Nico’s children” ou des choses plus triviales comme “I love my radio on” que l’on trouvait sur l’album solo d’Anthony.

Les British Ballads, autre disque solo sorti sous son nom complet, sont également de la partie. Tout comme le très beau “Filthy names” et beaucoup de compositions de l’époque Jack/Jacques. Une pop aussi énergique que mélancolique. Autre pièce maitresse de cette compilation, “Io bevo“, magnifique et poignante” ballade” inspirée par une chanson d’Aznavour et co-écrite avec Gianluca Maria Sorace du groupe italien Hollowblue.

Au total, 30 titres pour faire un tour d’horizon assez complet du bonhomme et à la fois faire patienter et donner envie d’une suite à cette déjà jolie carrière à la frontière du crooner, du dandy pop et de la folk. So british.

Posted in Anthony Reynolds, Reviews |

Anthony Reynolds – Kingdom Of Me EP: available now plus video

February 23, 2012 by Chaffinch

Kingdom Of Me EP is now available from iTunes and Amazon.

The full tracklisting is:

1.  Life’s Too Long

2.  The Laws Of The Game

3.  Paying Off My Bar Tab In Hell

4.  The High Grass Of Summer

5.  Kingdom Of Me

To coincide with the release our good friend Gordon Robertson has created an excellent video for Life’s Too Long:

News archives: Immigrant

IMMIGRANT – Crayon Era 2002-2004. Limited release.

Crayon Era

Crayon Era is a chronological 20-track retrospective, charting Immigrant’s first twelve years of recorded work.

Exclusive to Norman Records and strictly limited to 35 copies, the albums come in hand-stitched, individually designed drawstring wallets, each containing handwritten tracklistings and notes, held within handmade envelopes.  The jewel-cased CDs each have their own hand-painted sleeve, using oil paints, with all discs stamped and signed.  In addition, each wallet contains its own exclusive, bordered photograph.

Purchase from Norman Records.

Immigrant – Creatureland. New album.

August 16, 2014 by Chaffinch


The prolific Immigrant has a new album titled Creatureland for sale.  Visit his website for full details on where to get your hands on a copy.

Posted in Artists, Immigrant, News |

New album from Immigrant – Nation Of Immigrants

January 12, 2013 by Chaffinch

ImmigrantImmigrant has added another classic to his bulging discography. Titled Nation Of Immigrants, it can be purchased from Avalanche (Edinburgh), Love Music (Glasgow), Monorail (Glasgow), Norman Records (Leeds) and Vox Box (Edinburgh).

Immigrant – new album

April 30, 2012 by Chaffinch

Immigrant has sneaked another startling album out.  Visit his website here for more info.

Immigrant interview and new album

June 6, 2011 by Chaffinch


Our friends at Peenko have interviewed Immigrant and you can read it here.   There is also an excellent new album to get your hands on titled No Refuge.   Buy it here.

Chaffinch Week at Avalanche Records – 21st February 2011

February 13, 2011 by Chaffinch

Avalanche Records have built up an outstanding reputation over 27 years and in particular have shown an enthusiasm and commitment to Scottish artists and labels.

Chaffinch are chuffed to bits to be asked by them to take part in a Scottish label week. This begins on Monday 21st February and concludes on Saturday 26th February, at 3pm with an in-store session by Burnt Island.

Also available will be a 10-track Chaffinch CD compilation titled ‘Woodlands‘ featuring exclusive material from Burnt Island, The Second Hand Marching Band, Immigrant and South Downs. Avalanche Records, 5 Grassmarket, Edinburgh, EH1 2HY.

New Immigrant albums!

November 29, 2010 by Chaffinch


Immigrant has completed ANOTHER two albums which are now available from his site and also in Monorail in Glasgow from mid-December.  Chaffinch was lucky enough to hear both prior to release and we can confirm they’re up to his usual brilliant standard.Titled Jao and So Pachinko both are definitely worth purchasing.Buy copies for yourself, and maybe for a friend or loved-one as a nice Christmas gift too.

The Whisper EP – new review from 7inches.blogspot!

July 12, 2010 by Chaffinch

Whisper EP‘this EP is a perfect introduction to the label’s ideology and some of the contemporary talent out of Scotland.’

Read the full review here:

Latest Immigrant release!

May 31, 2010 by Chaffinch


Immigrant has been releasing a ridiculous number of wonderful albums over the past 12 months and they keep getting better and better.  Get along to his shop and pick up a copy of the latest release ‘Heart Leaps and Women Folk‘.

News archives: Lucky Luke

Lucky Luke – Travelling For A Living review

August 18, 2012 by Chaffinch

Online magazine Pennyblackmusic have a lovely review of the album – “the band’s name and the grim cover do absolutely no justice to their brightly jangling songs, which are of sometimes epic momentum.  Let alone the exquisite vocals which remind of many great names of yesteryear and today.”

Read the full review here.

Lucky Luke – Travelling For A Living: review

June 26, 2012 by Chaffinch

“Lucky Luke may be no more but this ‘lost’ second album is a welcome reminder of their barren, grainy beauty.”  4/5

Read Stewart Smith’s full review at The List.

Lucky Luke – Travelling For A Living: on sale now

June 23, 2012 by Chaffinch

Lucky Luke - Travelling For A LivingLucky Luke’s Travelling For A Living album is finally available.  It can be purchased from Avalanche in Edinburgh, LoveMUSIC in Glasgow, Monorail in Glasgow and Norman Records in Leeds.

It’s also available from Amazon and direct from the Chaffinch shop.

Lucky Luke album – release date and first review!

May 10, 2012 by Chaffinch

Chaffinch are pleased to announce that Luke Luke’s Travelling For A Living  CD album will be released on 21st June 2012.

We’re also thrilled with the first review to appear.  A glowing one at that, in The Word:

‘With age, expectations sink. How could they not? You get used to things. You’re harder to surprise. You can’t remember the last time you underwent a full-blown epiphany. It’s a realisation brought into sharp relief by the experience of going to see gigs.  If you see enough workmanlike performances on the trot, you even start to wonder what it would take to hear music so wonderful that you’d be moved to do something really stupid in order to get more of it.  At the 2004 Green Man, I found my answer in Glasgow’s Lucky Luke. In a hot marquee, three skinny blokes in floral shirts and two women in patterned dresses – the bastard progeny of The Pastels in ’86 and Fairport in ’69 – brought their clattering uplift to bear upon a mixture of trad arrs and original songs.  I cornered Morag Wilson (harmonium, vocals) and Lucy Sweet (vocals, autoharp) and and asked when her band might play London.  They had no plans. I put them on myself.  Barely anyone came. I lost £500.  The band stayed at my house. Next day, as I waved them goodbye, they left me demos of their second album Travelling For A Living.  One hour later, I didn’t care about the £500. In my head, I rationalised it thus: when Lucky Luke’s second album comes out to rave reviews, I’ll be boasting about this.

But, of course, plans don’t always go according to themselves.  And in the case of Lucky Luke, there were deals that fell through; there were newborn babies and there were “real” jobs – all of these factors now conspiring to make Travelling For A Living a posthumous release.  There’ll be no more epiphanies in marquees, but here’s a document of a band at the precise point of vertical take-off, where they leave the sum of their constituent parts far behind them.  You can hear it in on Mud In The Milk, where Sweet launches into a narrative about “a wild-hearted girl who cannot be contained by any man” with a gusto that calls to mind the young Kirsty MacColl.  There’s Jackie too, which refracts the ramshackle humanity of old Big Star records through late nights with early Steeleye Span albums.  Wherever you alight on Travelling For A Living, the collision of melody and execution is life-affirming, and no more so than on Morag Wilson and guitarist Simon Shaw’s title track, a lament for the human debris left behind when people throughout history have been forced get on their proverbial bikes in search of work.’  Pete Paphides.

Lucky Luke – Travelling For A Living

April 22, 2012 by Chaffinch

Lucky Luke - Travelling For A Living

Coming soon…..

Posted in Chaffinch Records, Lucky Luke, News |

The Whisper EP – new review from 7inches.blogspot!

July 12, 2010 by Chaffinch

Whisper EP‘this EP is a perfect introduction to the label’s ideology and some of the contemporary talent out of Scotland.’

Read the full review here:

Whisper EP: reviews

March 19, 2010 by Chaffinch

Whisper EPIf you didn’t notice a review the other week for the wonderful ‘Whisper E.P.’ on Chaffinchrecords then don’t fret. ‘Cos we missed it like a bunch of retarded gannets due to the sheer influx of Xmas shagging records & this sweet 4 track gem was buried in the kerfuffle & confined to the deepest recesses of the stockroom. Ironic, as the sleeve features a lost dog in a quarry with one of those lampshades round It’s head that keeps mangy mutts from scratching all their fur off when they get nits. Or summat. Ask yer vet. ANYHOO, without FURTHER ADO, this dew-eyed beauty features an absolute blinder from Lucky Luke (a priceless psych-Celt folk odyssey that’s exclusive as it was missed, criminally off Patrick The Survivor) Unfortunately Fat Thailand scoffing Barry has lost the press sheet so I cannae say much more aside from there’s also folkin’ excellent tracks from King Creosote, Immigrant & South Downs. Ignore everything else this week & buy this almost flawless comp 7″ (that’s only if you only have a few quid after buying all yer crack ‘n’ ciggies @ crimbo). SOTW.
Norman Records – January 2006
Four act EP (sadly not on well yummy custard yellow vinyl but attractively presented nonetheless) featuring Beard’s favourite FiferKing Creosote taking his band for a jolly country ramble. Lucky Luke’s Please Bomb Slough was left off their album (perhaps due to its atypical lo-fi drum loop) but it’s one of their best, a dark beauty that slowly unfolds in a Hebridean breeze of flute, saxophone and rumbling toms. The (?)non-Scottish acts are equally fine, with South Downs contributing some lovely folk-pop melded with harmonies and harmonium and Immigrant enchanting with the slow burning hum of The Violet Flame.
Stewart Smith, The Beard – #5 Winter 2005
Creosote offer a lovely jaunty new song to this four-track new-folk EP, but it’s the sinister, Wicker Man chanting of Lucky Luke that shines brightest.
John Earls, Planet Sound – September 2006
4 lovely tracks here. Singer songwriter material with heaps of meloncholic overtones in the wonderful melodies. I particularly love the use of the harmonium on the inside side. beautiful…..
I loved the Lucky Luke album so there was no hesitation in getting this EP. ‘Please Bomb Slough’ is a broody nest of nu-folk twigs upon a slightly rhumba-ish branch. Not sure about the title. ‘Please Bomb Slough’ – isn’t that incitement to terrorism under section 72 of the new Dontfuckwivus Act. (Then again 500 7″ singles is hardly an incitement to anything, as my Gran always used to chuckle.) I think I know what they’re getting at though. Slough represents materialism, the urban, the suburban, the modern, the breakdown of community, the vulgar, the corporatisation of the high street, the Americanisation of culture, an uninspired youth, the devaluation of human endeavour, the new slavery, the pointlessness of a satellite town, the distribution centre, the easy access to the M4, the industrial estate, the death of hope, repetition and process. Slough is everywhere. It’s not just Slough. And somehow I don’t think folk rock is gonna save us but, hey, it’s worth trying. Do people ever gig in Slough? I wonder ifLucky Luke had a bad experience there or something. It would tie it all up. Anyway, this EP is on the new Chaffinch imprint and contains other stuff: including a rather chirpy song by South Downs and a skybound organ number by Immigrant.

*I’ve just been informed that the incitement to bomb Slough is in fact a reference to Betjeman. Once again my ignorance of 20th Century verse has left me exposed and ashamed. But then you’re dealing with someone here who thought The Wasteland was written by Paul Weller and, once, when my poet friends were discussing Dylan I thought they were talking about Bob Dylan – whoever he was.
Review by Wide Open Road. January 2006.
For the love of music! Not too many labels still put out music…for the love of music. And that’s why U.K. based Chaffinch Records is such a little gem. Releasing various artists EP’s, and a little EP by a nobody artist named Anthony Reynolds (Jack!!!), these guys might not be making a huge splash, but they definitely deserve your attention. The Whisper is a 7″ vinyl EP limited to only 500 copies. And if you think for a moment that small quantities proves it must not be worth your time, you’re a bloody idiot (MakeMineMusic and VelvetBlueMusic are 2 wonderful examples of this). Lucky Luke is the first of the 4 artists that show up on this EP. The price of the EP would be worth it for the slow and haunting “Please Bomb Slough” alone.

A very talented and understated band we should hear more of. King Creosote’s “6 Ups and Over” sounds like an obscure folkish jam, with vocals filtered to the background as acoustic guitars and brushed drums dominate the soundscape. “Something Inside” by South Downsbleeds of its influence. An endearing cross between Paul McCartney and Elliott Smith echoes through the air, as lo-fi melodic drones fill out the remaining headspace. The fourth and final artist to contribute to this EP is Immigrant, with “The Violet Flame”. Featuring an organ as the song’s base, a dry tenor sleepily follows a monotone melody to its bitter end.

For those serious indie music lovers, you should become familiar with Chaffinch Records. They put out music that’s worth your while.
The Black And White Magazine