My name is Phil. I’m the one sweeping up and turning the lights out on a thing called Medway Eyes, a sort of collective, but definitely an ideal that has been a modest part of Medway’s independent cultural fabric for five years. We’re stopping now because times have changed, and we now have the Homespun and Medway Visions festivals where once there was almost nothing. You can find out what we’ve been up to on our website, but this article is very much about our charity download albums, the newest of which can be found and downloaded here.
I know it’s odd to write for a publication like the Medway Broadside in the first person, but it seems natural and honest, given that the editor Andrew Day asked me to write something about these albums from a personal perspective and my role has been to curate them. Basically, we’ve put out an album every year since 2009 with the primary intentions of connecting Medway’s musical community and offering a simple overview that is clearly beyond the wit of its local authority or mainstream press and radio. We live in a place uncommonly blessed by musical talent, and I hope the examples that follow will illustrate this.
I’ve chosen twelve songs almost but not quite at random. They’re things I’ve enjoyed that I can share with you on YouTube, Vimeo or Soundcloud. I could do it again tomorrow and choose another dozen, all equally as good. Decisions are hard when you have 223 tracks to choose from, so please have sympathy ;0)
Lupen Crook – Kick Up The Leaves (ME1)
The first song on the first ever album. Simple and beautiful, with a hint of Holly. It was Lupen Crook who introduced us to this year’s charity Young Minds, and he’s been a great supporter all along, providing the artwork for ME4.
Chris Austin (Burn Paper Tigers) – “Deconstructionalist Blues” (ME2)
Another artist who got us from the beginning and contributed in so many ways. We lost Chris this year and we love him and miss him, but he left a lot of beauty behind.
The Singing Loins – “House In The Woods” (ME3)
If we could point to just one song by one band and say “yes, that’s our ethos” it would be this lot.
Frau Pouch – “Sexy Architecture” (ME3)
Frau Pouch introduced us to a filthier side of Medway music, for which we are eternally grateful.
Stuart Turner & The Flat Earth Society – “Sunrise” (ME4)
Stu and his band have always given us thoughtful contributions, including some exclusive recordings and some album tracks gingerly put forward in advance of the albums themselves. Here’s a track from their forthcoming album “The Art and Science of Phrenology”.
Philtrum – “Caught Inside” (ME4)
Perfect punk pop. I can hear echoes of the Strookas (who?) in this one. Play it loud.
Bear Vs Manero – “Budd” (ME5)
An enormous track from one of Medway’s most compelling live bands. Intelligent, articulate and none of the above.
The Galileo 7 – “Ann Hedonia” (ME5)
Led by ex-Prisoner Allan Crockford, this is pure infectious pop at its best.
Didi Bergman – “Candle and A Song” (ME5)
Too beautiful for words. You’ll just have to listen.
The Objectors – “Jah-rusalem” (ME5)
Dub Reggae from Medway. Yes, that’s right. Bang on observational writing too.
The Love Family – “Somewhere Waiting” (ME5)
A huge sound from a great band on its second wind.
Crybaby Special – “Lay Down With Me” (ME5)
Not quite what you might have been expecting if you already knew this band. A sensitive and understated thing of wonder.
All of these albums are available to download HERE. Please download, enjoy and donate.
for Medway Eyes