Tag Archives: teleman

Three Singles, released April/May 2020

Lucy Gaffney – ‘Can’t Escape’

‘Can’t Escape’ is the debut solo single by Lucy Gaffney, a singer songwriter from Belfast, now based in Liverpool. She has been in other bands including a duo called MMODE with her brother and she has worked with The Coral. This is a smooth piece of dream pop, with one of those ‘War On Drugs’ type verses – a sort of two chord road movie sound and then goes into a biggish chorus which sticks in your head. The voice sounds full and rich and yet blends and blurs into the mix of this perfectly structured pop song.


Smoke Fairies – ‘No Matter How This Goes, Just Make Sure That You’re Kind’

Smoke Fairies
are excellent live performers and they manage to transfer the dark atmospheres of their songs onto recordings too. I can highly recommend their last album ‘Darkness Brings the Wonders home’ and this track ‘No Matter How This Goes’, Just Make Sure That You’re Kind’ was recorded at the same time, and given its high quality and prescience perhaps surprisingly left off the LP, but the band have since explained that they didn’t think it suited the mood of the rest of the tracks.
They are essentially a duo, this quote from Pitchfork magazine describes them as follows ‘…..Blamire and Davies don’t trade vocal duties so much as appear to sing from the same body, their voices nearly indistinguishable, shifting between smoky moans and toe-curling trills…’.
I’m not so sure; I think the two voices subtly differ and contrast but the harmonies are definitely from another world. Look out for their home online performances, most recently raising money for the RSPCA.


Moscoman feat.Tom Sanders – What Do We Care

This is three mixes of ‘What Do We Care’ by Moscoman, who is a producer and DJ specialising in ‘raw and rugged machine disco, acid, melodic techno, wonky house and dark disco’. He also crosses over into some surprising alternative territories and has his second album released on UK indie label Moshi Moshi later this year. After the sparse 80s keys of the introduction, this song features distinctive vocals from Tom Sanders of Teleman, one of my favourite live and studio bands that I have reviewed many times before. The track is probably a bit more clinically electronic and detached than Teleman’s more organic work but it is definitely worth several listens.



Teleman, Junction J1, Cambridge , 23 April 2019

ᙀᖺ (or ‘uh’) are an experimental electronic duo; Fionnuala Kennedy and Dominic Kennedy use a variety of synthesisers and treatments to create a sound that is at first challenging but soon pulls you into their world. With spoken lyrics, singing, a voice becoming a keyboard and intense manipulating of the sonic palette, each of the four performed tracks has its own character, but always propelled by a deep funky-ish bass. ‘Starchild’ features an inverted riff on electro-pop classic ‘Are ‘Friends’ Electric?’, while new eight minute single ‘Seasick In Salts’ changes speed, rhythm, pitch and everything in between. Mesmerising and hypnotic, uh are immensely likeable, showing once again that Teleman can find excellent support acts.

Regular readers of this site will realise that Teleman are one of my favourites, this was the sixth time for us; fortunately they continue to develop their live show and have a recorded back catalogue that is now rich enough to overfill a set with gems. Tonight’s show featured only two songs from their second album as last year’s long-player ‘Family Of Aliens’ is now the source of most of the set. The title track and the mighty ‘Cactus’ were early highlights, with the unusual and distinctive ‘Submarine Life’ continuing to grow in stature.

The rewarding and dissonant 5/4 beat of ‘Repeater’ and the extended reworking of ‘Steam Train Girl’ interweaved perfectly with the rolling keyboards of new live addition ‘Sea Of Wine’ and the doomy splendour of ‘Fall In Time’. ‘Song For A Seagull’ has an ethereal splendour all of its own and as to be expected the irresistible march of ‘Strange Combinations’ and the relentless main set closer ‘Not In Control’ were electrifying crowd pleasers.

As an encore Tom Sanders returned to the stage for a solo version of rare and haunting ballad ‘Nights On Earth’ before the essential finale of the fabulous driving pop of ‘Dusseldorf’.

As always, a brilliant show!


Teleman, Epic Studios, Norwich, 30 September 2018

As part of a tour to promote their excellent third album, London quartet Teleman raised the pulses of their many devoted fans in Norwich (and those who had travelled from Cambridge…).

Support act C.A.R. (the performing name of Chloé Raunet) plays electronic soundscapes where a pulsing bass line underpins her hypnotic vocals and synthesiser lines. Singing in French for ‘La petite fille du 3ème’ added a haunting sixties texture to the sound. An impressive set, well appreciated by the audience.

As the stage was set up to the accompaniment of disturbing mixes of white noise and film soundtracks (2001, The Blob(!) et al) and the LED backdrop glowed with random lightning flashes we were wondering how the current Teleman live sound would reflect the new recordings. Straight in with one of my favourites ‘Strange Combinations’, inexplicably not on any album, but showcasing many of the elements that make the band so compulsive.
New song ‘Cactus’ also does this, with a deep synth riff that drives the song to its loud conclusion, given extra potency when the bass guitar thunders in to add an extra layer.

‘Fun Destruction’ has some great retro synthesiser settings too, while the surreal narrative of title track ‘Family Of Aliens’ is strangely evocative. ‘Submarine Life’ features a vocoder vocal with the funkiest bassline of the evening and the foreboding gothic mood of ‘Fall In Time’ unravels and unnerves like a Hammer Horror. ‘Song For A Seagull’ has a lovely melody and lyric and ‘Twisted Heart’ is a good poppy blast with a hookline chorus that sticks in the mind. To finish the main set fan favourite the mighty ‘Düsseldorf’ pushes all before it. For the encore we had relative oldies ‘Christina’ and modern-life list song ‘Not In Control’ and then it was all over, the time had flown by.

This was the 5th time I had seen the band since 2014; in each show the sound has evolved subtly in many directions and it is always fascinating to watch how the musical contributions of the four players gel so well together. They now have so many strong tracks that some favourites get left out of the set but tonight showed that Teleman are on fantastic form.


Teleman, Junction, Cambridge, 26 Oct 2016

Back to Cambridge for Teleman; this time playing to a much larger audience in Junction One.

Support act were Cambridge five-piece Lunacre, confidently rising to the occasion on the big stage. With keyboards, guitars and intermittent saxophone they have a varied palette of sonic textures to choose from and the songs show restraint and subtlety as the instrumentation drifts in and out to create a relaxed, hypnotic sound.
The title track from their new EP ‘Schtum’ is a highlight as are the sax and vocal layers on ‘Occam’s Razor’. ‘(Re)Cycle’ had the insouciance of a song by the fast rising band Glass Animals. Best of all was ‘Engine’, including driving drum pattern and full-on bass punch, showing off the wide range of the band.

Teleman have a spring in their step, with an appearance on BBC music showcase ‘Later…with Jools Holland’ last week, many sold out dates on their current tour and two albums of quality material to perform. I saw them in April and since then they have expanded and refined many of the live versions of the songs to fill the larger stage (also including a frenetic lightshow and columns of steam for ‘Steam Train Girl’!).

They benefitted from the recently improved sound quality in the Junction, especially for some of the raucous edgy guitar parts and some foreboding keyboard moments. The drumming of Hiro Amamiya was spot-on and adds so much to the glorious ‘Dusseldorf’ and the celebration of ‘Skeleton Dance’.

My favourites tonight were the double keyboard electronica of ‘Brilliant Sanity’, the quiet desperation in the vocals of ‘Drop Out’ and the triumphant final song ‘Glory Hallelujah’ where the chord progression just seems to be different from anything you have heard before.

Hopefully now they will get the recognition they deserve (but I will miss them playing smaller shows in the Portland Arms!)


Teleman, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 9 April 2016

Returning again to Cambridge, Teleman had a new second album to celebrate, already gaining airplay and critical acclaim. Supported on most of this tour by the 80s electronica of NZCA LINES, (who I would like to see at a future date) their more than worthy replacement was the casually likeable and charismatic Oscar, who was also their support last time at the Portland!

With his distinctive baritone voice backed by bass, drums and synths/guitar Oscar previewed the pop delights that would appear on his new highly anticipated album ‘Cut And Paste’ released this May. Extensive touring has artfully polished the catchy ‘Beautiful Words’, ‘Breaking My Phone’ and best of all the final song ‘Sometimes’. New single is the reggae-tinged ‘Good Things’, nicely laid-back and summer sounding.

Teleman too were on fine form, mixing the new songs from ‘Brilliant Sanity’ in with many of the highlights of their debut album. Opening with elusive non-album track ‘Strange Combinations’ and up-tempo ‘Skeleton Dance’ their sold-out show was fired-up from the start (they had earlier played a matinee show at The Portland to cope with ticket demand). The title track is cryptic and a bit disturbing (“…I lost everything I ever had, I lost everything in a housefire…”) and ‘English Architecture’ is a tale of quiet alienation.

I enjoyed the relentless groove of ‘Drop Out’ (featuring an incursion into the audience by guitar-wielding Thomas Sanders) and the strange yearnings of ‘Tangerine’. Tonight though the faster, louder songs steal the show with the excellent sound quality allowing that ice-cool but vulnerable voice to sail above razor-sharp backing, ‘Glory Hallelujah’ is as rousing as its title and the double encore of the formidable ‘Dusseldorf’ (one of my favourite tracks of 2016!) and the dark pulsing ‘Not In Control’ ended the set on a high.


Teleman, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 3 September 2015

A triumphant return to the Portland for Teleman after their last sell-out show in May 2014.

The packed audience were already in place and bubbling for support Oscar Scheller, playing guitar and backed by another three musicians (all called ‘Oscar’ too?!). I really enjoyed his set of deceptively upbeat songs, shades of the Smiths and Edwyn Collins and with a distinctive voice which was deeper than often heard in the Indie world. ‘Beautiful Words’, ‘Daffodil Days’ and ‘Stay’ were the standout tracks and we even had some rarely heard whistling in ‘Forget Me Not’.

Teleman have continued on the up with frequent BBC 6Music airplay, prestigious support slots and festival appearances and the release of their acclaimed debut album ‘Breakfast’. When the set began with the joyous descending runs of ‘Skeleton Dance’, the poptastic dance track from the album, we knew all the elements were reassuringly in place; intricate drumming, sharp bass, the constantly changing keyboard textures and of course the plaintive voice of Thomas Sanders.
More great stuff from the album followed (’23 Floors Up’, ‘Steam Train Girl’) but much of the set was made up of new songs due to be recorded in a few days time for a new album in March next year. These sound fully formed and potential growers, especially ‘Dusseldorf’ and ‘Glory Hallelujah’. Hopefully one-off single ‘Strange Combinations’ will be included too.

Teleman have an addictive sound with many elements mixed in, sometimes electronica or just rocking out, such as the crowd favourite ‘Not In Control’ which was the final track and a fitting end to an excellent evening…


Teleman, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 18 May 2014

Teleman and Gentlemen at the Portland Arms, the perfect way to end the warmest day of the year so far?

Opening the show, Gentlemen had a full, engrossing, retro sound. The six members of the band clearly love their music, from the rocking openers to when they are immersed in the depths of psychedelia and the instrumental explorations of Pink Floyd’s early albums on ‘Late Nacht’ and ‘Gentle Duke’, the songs that ended their short set.

Teleman were formed from the ashes of Pete and the Pirates, a guitar based indie pop outfit. I saw them perform at the Leicester Summer Sundae Festival in 2011 (I do occasionally venture further than Cambridge…) and they played a great festival show to an appreciative audience.

I had realised Teleman were a change in direction, into more keyboard based songs. They did not disappoint, poignant lyrics were delivered clearly by singer and guitarist Thomas Sanders, his plaintive tones cutting through the interesting mix of varied keyboard sounds from Jonny Sanders along with a firm foundation of drums and bass. They played many tracks from the new album, being released at the start of June.

‘…Thanks for appreciating our quiet songs Cambridge…’. We did. And the rockier moments, and especially the haunting atmosphere of harmonium and voice on the first single ‘Christina’ and the catchy familiarity of later tracks ’23 Floors Up’ and ‘Steam Train Girl’. I like the way that the songs speak for themselves, no need to overdose the volume or artificially build up the track to a big finish. There was waltz time, a vocoder robot voice, a swirling fairground organ controlled but threatening to overwhelm the song, the twists and turns kept on coming.

It was an excellent performance, perhaps the release of the album will lead to a deserved bigger audience….