Stuart Benjamin

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Born and resident in South Wales until the late 1990s I grew up listening to a combination of Male Voice Choirs and Death Metal. If I’m honest, both are with me still. I later moved to Wiltshire, where I am now resident in the same town as Andy Partridge of XTC. I’ve never met Andy. He’s never met me. I’m not sure what we’d do if we did meet. I’ve always listened to music that’s off-the-beaten-track. I’ve just got to listen to something new, something different. It’s a compulsion. I just can’t stand blandness in music. I must have excitement, experimentation in what I listen to. This is why I am here. Outside of all this prog-rock/psychedelia/free-jazz/punk/experimental stuff I also listen to classical music and opera, and I sing choral pieces both sacred and secular. Not because I’m any good at it, but because it’s hard to sing and the challenge is everything. My favourite band are Cardiacs, my guilty pleasure is Stevie Wonder. Go figure.

Articles by Stuart Benjamin

My-Ra Superstar – Some Of These Objects Are Cursed

A valiant effort (in spite of the geography) to keep the voice of rock ‘n’ roll dissent alive and well – and there are too few bands doing that these days. By Stuart Benjamin

Instrumental (adj.) – A Series Of Disagreements

I can’t wait for a full-length record. I really, really can’t. I’d really love to hear this group expand their ideas and their sound into an album length odyssey. – By Stuart Benjamin

Za! – Loloismo

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Rulebook? Forget it! ‘Loloismo’ at once lurches from industrial math-rock to rap, from Arabic influenced Spanish guitar to hardcore, with enough odd time-signatures to keep all you outsider music freaks happy. – By Stuart Benjamin

Hinterlandt – Ensemble

For my money, Hinterlandt have produced a really original record in Ensemble, which is really worth an hour of your time if you’re looking for a break from the self-imposed silo of your usual listening. By Stuart Benjamin

Fat White Family – Songs for our Mothers

The band work through ten tunes that epitomise their drone/disco/psych punk dynamic. The whole album crackles along with dark energy. By Stuart Benjamin

Anna von Hausswolff – The Miraculous

The whole genius of Pop music in it’s truest form, is to distill the whole experience of life into something under three minutes long – and somehow, von Hausswolff manages to do this with whole alternate universes. Peerless. BY Stuart Benjamin

Nik Turner – Space Fusion Odyssey

From the first note to the last you are drawn into a universe hermetically sealed in it’s own bubble where – for the length of the album, only its own rules seem to make sense. By Stuart Benjamin

Killing Joke – Pylon

Pylon is – to my mind – one of the great Killing Joke albums. Every song delivers in spades, with no hint of “oh that’s just filler”. It grabs your attention like the cops busting in your front door in a early morning raid, you sit transfixed as the whole thing bludgeons out of the speakers like truncheon bearing rozzers. By Stuart Benjamin

The Men That Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing – Not your Typical Victorians

I really enjoyed my time with the Victorian punks, and thanked my lucky stars that I didn’t live then. Mind you, there’s as much injustice around today and you don’t have to look very far to find it – so where are all the witty, angry bands like The Men Who Will Not Be Blamed For Nothing? In short supply, I fear. By Stuart Benjamin

Yuka & Chronoship – The 3rd Planetary Chronicles

Too often is prog seen as a male dominated genre, the contribution of women to prog-rock has often been invisible, unnoticed and unsung. As a band-leader and creator of this quite remarkable record I think she’s more than proved that she can produce, what I think, is my favourite prog-release of the year. By Stuart Benjamin

Interview: Stomper from Evil Blizzard

With a second album – Everybody Come To Church – having just hit the shops and live dates with Public Image Limited and The Fall under their belts, Evil Blizzard’s fortunes are riding high. Leaving chaos, confusion, and monstrous progeny in their wake, the band pretty much have torn up the rock ‘n’ roll rulebook and are clearly set for great things. Stuart Benjamin caught up with Stomper from the band, taking five in his dressing-gown, slippers, and smoking a pipe in his book lined study…

Pseudo/Sentai – Bansheeface

Although I’d kind of got exhausted towards the end, I really enjoyed with monumental slab of off-beat prog and shall, no doubt, look forward to more from this unique band. – By Stuart Benjamin

Evil Blizzard – Everybody Come to Church

So, what you’ll want to know is ‘Did the album live up to it’s expectations?’ Yes. I’ll even stick my neck out to say that this record is even better than The Dangers of Evil Blizzard. It’s fantastic. There. I said it. The genie’s out of the bottle now. By Stuart Benjamin

The Scaramanga Six – The Terrifying Dream

It’s perhaps unfashionable in a post-rock, math-rock, ironic-rock world, to be a band that really play well, that really sing well, and just bang out great tunes, but the Scaramanga Six really are the whole package. If you haven’t got into them what the fuck have you been doing all this time? Your record collection needs them and so do you. By Stuart Benjamin

Sons of Kemet – Lest We Forget What We Came Here To Do

There’s so much of interest in this album, I can’t praise it enough. The repeated playing of it reveals more and more musical strata, as well as providing an inspiration to find out more about the people, situations, and cultural references which provide the inspiration for these tracks. Do yourself a favour and add it to your record collection. By Stuart Benjamin

Facemeat – Questions For Men

You probably won’t have heard of Facemeat, but you should, as ‘Questions For Men’ is a brilliant début record, in fact, it’s probably one of the best things I’ve heard all year. Indeed, I’d go as far as to say Record Of The Year, or at least a very strong contender for that dubious honour. – By Stuart Benjamin

Effa Lente – The Effa Lente Configuration: Parts 1-4

The music here engages with you emotionally, it makes you feel something – fear, anticipation, tension – it’s all here and feels very palpable even from the very first listen. Get it, crawl into it, and lose yourself in it for hours. By Stuart Benjamin

Gentle Knife – Gentle Knife

By the end of the album I loved this band so much I gave them a cheer, after repeated listening I still loved them. So, in summary, a strong debut with a few flaws, but the positives outnumber the negatives – expect great things from Gentle Knife. By Stuart Benjamin

Gatherer – Heavy Hail

I’ll give the band credit for a well produced sound and very efficient musicianship, but I couldn’t help feeling that there wasn’t enough to hold my interest in any of the twelve tracks here. By Stuart Benjamin

Guards of May – Future Eyes

I think with a few lucky breaks we may hear more from Guards of May in the future. It’s just – with the exception of ‘Numbers’ – not my cup of tea, that’s all. By Stuart Benjamin

Terminal Cheesecake – Cheese Brain Fondue: Live from Marseille

If you’re at all into psychedelic rock, you really can’t be without this band in your life. By Stuart Benjamin

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