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Regular writing and podcasting about music

Fascinating Things : Issue 13

Another one from the forthcoming second Ought album, “Sun Coming Down”, which is out on Constellation on September 18th.

Forthcoming UK dates are:

01.09.15 London – Village Underground
02.09.15 Manchester – The Deaf Institute
03.09.15 Birmingham – Hare and Hounds
04.09.15 Dorset – End of the Road Festival, Larmer Tree Gardens

Space are back with a new single ‘Strange World’. The band will also embark on an extensive UK tour of the same name throughout October and November 2015. ‘Strange World’ combines Space’s signature sound with a Mariachi vibe, creating a record that could serve as the soundtrack to a David Lynch film. This is Space at their finest, a record set to delight their army of fans as well as winning many more.

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The new single from London-based Silver Shields,  who are upholding the Shoegaze tradition,  is called “I Wonder If You’re Thinking Of Me Now”.  Release date is 21st August 2015.

If melodically charged garage rock is to be the soundtrack to your summer, then UK trio  Monster Jaw  have an offer that may fulfil your needs. The British rock act are offering their full EP releases from 2013 – 2015 as completely free downloads until the 1st September 2015. This includes all their EP releases to date – ‘Get A Tattoo’, ‘Losing All My Friends’ and their recent lo-fi and self-produced ‘Basement Sessions’.

Grab your downloads here

Fascinating ambient sounds and off kilter rhythmic constructions from the ever busy Mark Corrin on his latest in a series of EPs. Dreamy but also slightly disturbing.

Songwriter Hannah Curwood originates from the stark, remote region of Central Otago in New Zealand. Now based in London, Hannah in the Wars is the result of working alongside Roger O’Donnell of The Cure and a handpicked group of musicians.

Hannah in the Wars‘ eponymous debut album, released earlier this year, is a collection of beautifully written melodies and emotionally engaging narratives, taking inspiration from life’s trials and triumphs and perfectly showcasing Curwood’s distinctive and powerful vocals.

Both ‘Only Wanna Be’ and B-side ‘Sweet Release’, lifted from the critically acclaimed album, were written following the breakdown of a relationship and Curwood’s decision to move half way around the world to start afresh. Of the songs, she says their creation came easily and, despite the subject matter, they have come to occupy a positive space in her mind, particularly after seeing them so well received by audiences on her recent two month tour across the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Berlin.

The new Locrian album sounds like it is rather fine indeed if this preview track is anything to go by – what a great racket!

More big and long notes from Hope Drone from the album “Cloak of Ash” sounds like God Speed You Black Emperor on industrial grade steroids.

Pureland is Silverbird‘s debut album and is released on September 18th 2015. Songwriter Tim Barr founded Silverbird after spending several years on New York’s vibrant music scene playing gigs as part of Lana Del Rey’s band, opening for The Blow, and studying and playing with Dizzy Gillespie’s pianist protegee Mike Longo.

Barr and English producer Kristopher Harris recorded Silverbird’s debut EP ‘Surface Life’, released in May 2014 to critical acclaim. Joined by Corey Davis on bass, Dan Whaley on lead guitar and Jacob Schuab on drums, Silverbird were soon selling out venues across NYC. With influences as diverse as Wilco, Heartless Bastards, and Sparklehorse, their music strides fearlessly through an ever changing emotional landscape. Infectious melodies and swirling, intricate rhythms combine to provide an absolutely enchanting soundscape.

A remarkably fine album.

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Swirling, dreamy pop hooks accentuated with the haunting sounds of a Farfisa organ cloak the sombre and sardonic musings of former Fuck Knights guitarist and Nightinghales front man Ben Bachman in his new project, High Tiny Hairs.

This EP lays bare and showcases Bachman’s stylistic influences, the likes of Alex Chilton, Brian Eno and Syd Barrett, with a short set of self-produced releases.

The songs, bouncing between sixties Baroque pop and the new psychedelic movement of the early eighties, are mesmerisingly elegant and poetically dark, yet quirky, and romantic. The Minneapolis based singer/songwriter evokes a hazy, late night tête-à-tête with his ghosts.

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Kowloon Walled City will release their long-awaited new full-length this Autumn. Grievances, their third album and first for Neurot Recordings, finds the San Francisco band at its artistic peak, having moved even further away from its sludgy, post-hardcore origins and toward a more sparse, more melancholic detuned heaviness.
  “We dug into this expansive, less distorted vibe. The songs are mostly slow and bummed out but we still want them to push, to have energy,” said vocalist/guitarist Scott Evans.
  Evans, together with guitarist Jon Howell, bassist Ian Miller, and drummer Jeff Fagundes spent over two years working on the seven songs for Grievances. The intense editing process weeded out about two albums’ worth of songs. Howell’s unusual chord changes and discordant aesthetic channel Unwound and Slint. Miller’s gritty bass adds a surprising layer of depth and melody, while Fagundes’ drums resonate in what sounds like an impossibly large room. Evans’ shouted vocals are raw with frustration and disappointment, but without the typical veneer of macho aggression.
Kowloon Walled City formed in 2007 and has released an EP, Turk Street (Wordclock, 2008), and two full-length albums, Gambling On The Richter Scale (Perpetual Motion Machine, 2009) and Container Ships (Brutal Panda, 2012), as well as two splits. Among the bands it has shared stages with are Neurosis, Tragedy, Sleep, Thou, Coliseum, Zozobra, Fight Amp, Roomrunner, The Body, and Helms Alee.
  Grievances will be released worldwide on October 9th, 2015 on Neurot Recordings, with vinyl on Gilead Media. Preorders to be announced in the coming weeks.

The Vicar’s House Is Nice

Artist : Staggs

Title : Shy Bairns Get Nowt

Format : EP

Label : German Shepherd

Release Date : August 8th 2015

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Music pioneers Staggs are back with a new release on German Shepherd Records, and it is their best work to date in my opinion. I have previously reported on their activities with reviews of their Risqué But Not Blue release, the remix EP Smart Husband Resonator Set,  and ample airplay on the Aural Delights Podcast.

Their self released work to date is still readily available on Bandcamp and their previous German Shepherd outing is required listening for the discerning audiophile.

For those of you who are not aware of their work, Staggs are Michael T. Scott and Paul Ridley.  They describe themselves as follows:

Staggs were born out of a one-off experimental remix of their own anarcho-punk track from the early 80s. The production is wholly contemporary but the anger of that era lives on in their energy, lyrical content and vocal expression. With a healthy cynicism towards British culture contained in the wealth of nostalgic samples and a bizarre smattering of French language thrown in for good measure.

grim up north

The EP comprises four tracks. It starts with a clearly recognisable trumpet sample and moves into typical Staggs riffery, left field noises and vocal samples, and Scott’s trademark scabrous vocalising. Staggs have a clever knack of capturing the bleakness of Tory Britain in 2015,  but setting it in a humorous context. With all the current empty promises of the so called “northern power house” the track is very relevant.

The tempo is upped to glam rock levels with a tumbling footballing homage to the Charlton Brothers. The mix of glam-surf guitars, arpeggios, and rich synth sounds, together with Scott’s middle 8 commentary on Lord Bobby of Charlton, with a rather acerbic aside about his hairstyle, all makes for a rather heady brew.

big jackPost industrial decline is the subject of the Orwellian “Sunset Over Aldi” a thought provoking commentary, via a kitchen sink drama , where Scott proves to be a raconteur of the highest quality. Musically rich, and bursting with ideas, this is Staggs are their very best.

Matters conclude with seaside sounds, a glimpse of a forgotten England, and then a heady rush of punk electronica of the highest quality, as Scott disembowels middle class aspiration in an utterly marvellous tirade.  Glorious, and like all good closing numbers it leaves you wanting more.

With most bands these days trying to re-invent early Syd Barrett tunes, with Jefferson Airplane as a backing band, how utterly refreshing to listen to a band that is doing things on their own terms, with a fascinating mix of righteous anger,  cynicism and strong doses of humour.

A short promo sampler from the EP gives you a taste of the contents:

I took the opportunity to ask the duo a few questions with regard to the release and current activities

The seventh release from the mighty Staggs – what were the key inspirations/drivers for this one?

Scott: Conceptually, this EP was initially inspired by my relocation to Newcastle after 25 years down “That South” in tandem with a dysfunctional relationship, leading to a period of homelessness, poverty and depression. Typical Northern situation for a lot of people. I’m not influenced to do this by music, rather by experience and circumstance. The initial idea for Staggs was to put the listener in a position where they don’t know whether to laugh or cry by juxtaposing tragic and comedic elements. I see my lyrical work as observational commentary, so I’m more inspired by surviving cancer than say, Sparks….which all sounds a bit grim, I do however retain a very healthy sense of tumour. Case in point: “Ron Was Cool” – a “humorous” song about a paedophile……..

Ridley: Musically, whatever tickled my fancy the day I turned the computer on. Michael tends to come up with the themes and I like fitting my muse around that and this will often be informed by his lyrics. We work remotely from different cities, so one of us will offer an initial “sketch” and it builds from there. A lot of the songs “write themselves” which is possibly a reflection of our growing up together and sharing past experiences.

The subject matter appears more political/social commentary this time around – not so much a Staggs Party, but a Staggs Party Political Broadcast – a reflection of the second Cameron/Osborne zeitgeist perhaps?

Ridley: It wasn’t intentional but a good deal of our music involves social comment whether we like it or not…There’s a lot Up North to comment on, in fact anywhere, it’s just that we happened to grow up there … It is pretty Grim though, I must admit…….

Scott: Yes – having shied away from politics after the anarcho-punk period (too much to young) I find I simply cannot ignore it any more. I’m actually pretty fucking pissed off now. I do some voluntary work teaching IT to “jobseekers” on a North Shields estate which is a real eye-opener. Cameron has fucked it – it will take us years to recover.

sunset over aldi

Bobby Charlton – a football genius or hairstyle pioneer?

Scott: He’s from Ashington – no more needs to be said.

Ennio Morricone – influential or am I hearing things that aren’t there?

Scott: Im a fan but it’s not a concious influence – I sampled the trumpet part for Grim Up North from the legendary album “Larn Yersel Geordie” by 70’s North Eastern TV stalwarts Mike Neville and George House. I believe Neville was the inspiration for Viz Comics Roger Mellie (the man on the telly) – The Viz boys attended the same school as Staggs………..

Ridley: Again not intentional, but the only place I can hear it is the guitar riff on “Big Jack”, which Michael played, so I can’t take the credit there !

Can you replicate this live – if so any chance of some live appearances?

Scott: We keep discussing this, but it’s a technological and logistical nightmare for many reasons, and there is always the danger of becoming a “Punk Pet Shop Boys”, and I fear the dreaded Sleaford Mods have beaten us to that…….However, it is possible and I would like to do it at some point.

The “anger” of your “punk/anarcho” days seems to there still – is that a fair comment?

Scott: Yes indeed – The new EP references our anarcho past – Reality Control  samples and a lyric on “Sunset Over Aldi”, which is in fact an homage to our 1982 Reality Control release: “Sunrise Over The Falklands”. “Vive Les Staggs” is based on the work of Crass, of whom I now have mixed feelings. Yes – they changed my life but I was very young and impressionable – I wonder what would have happened without them……..I wrote the song “Nice” in the back of a school exercise book at the age of 15. As I approach my 50th year it still rings true. Let’s get angry.

(Scott and Ridley were the guitarist and drummer respectively in Reality Control – there’s a bit of band  history here)

Ridley: The anger is there yes. This is why I encourage Michael to find a garden shed or equivalent to do his vocals so that no neighbours are harmed in the process…

nice
Is humour important in music?

Ridley: Absolutely, it’s there in most of our work – some are private jokes from school – “Hey Miss – are you a communist” ? (Staggs Say No) Some are universal – Risqué but not blue..

Scott: A horse walks into a bar and the barman says “why the long face” ?

(I thought there might be Frank Zappa reference here but the pair of them missed the feed line by a mile!)

Any further releases planned?

Ridley: Definitely – a best of vinyl album so we don’t lose the back catalogue to internet ether. There’ll always be new stuff in the pipeline.

Scott: It would be churlish not to continue…….

A lot more North Eastern references in this one – are you flexing your regional muscles?

Scott: Not particularly – again its just social commentary informed by experience. Having said that, the “North – South Divide” is alarmingly still alive and kicking – I lived in London and was just as angry………….

What are you listening to music wise at the moment?

Scott: I tend to listen to 6music all the time, which is very lazy and I find myself singing along to songs I have never heard before. I like listening to old vinyl found in charity shops, skips etc. I enjoy Surf, Country & Western and British Folk.

Ridley: New Chemical Crothers album, a drum and bass mix by my brother and the best of the Boomtown Rats – my own edited ! Bit of Nitin Sawhney…….

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Fascinating Things : Issue 12

So I majored on American artist Sterling Witt back in in August 2013 on Aural Delights 40 and his previous stuff is readily accessible at Bandcamp. He has just announced a pledge campaign for his new 13 track album, “Satyagraha”, which was recently recorded with Steve Albini. He has made the first single from it available. Loads more information can be found on Sterling’s website.

Cavemouth are a primal lo-fi funk four-piece who sound as though they live on the wilds of Exmoor on a strict diet of roadkill, making music to keep the neighbours away and lure the foxes in. Their gritty original sound blends blues, funk and hip-hop with African-influenced tunes and mind-altering lyrics. Fronted by Sketchy Lex on filthy guitar and vocals, Wreckless Richie on drums, Ms. Mo on funked-up bass and vocals and Mr. Duncan ‘The Hook’ Hook on Saxophone, the band have known each other for years. Growing up in rural Devon, they had to make their own entertainment by putting on their own raves and free parties, a past that has certainly helped to shape their sound. Inspired by everything around them from politics and religion to nature, Cave Mouth are influenced by Prince, ESG, Busta Rhymes, Leadbelly, Jack White, Queens of the Stone-age and Jethro Tull.

Yet another track from the forthcoming  Chelsea Wolfe album has emerged. I’ve got  a copy of the album now, and rather fine it is too. A more detailed appraisal will emerge shortly, Pending that have a listen to the haunting “Grey Days”.

Listening to the excellent Dave Hammond Smelly Flowerpot show on Cambridge 105 recently I was reminded of the excellent Violet Woods. They recently sent through a video of “The Dancer” from the excellent debut album. Excellent psyche  with a glorious keyboard sound. Rather groovy video as well. The album is highly recommended also – grab it on Bandcamp. Previously featured on Aural Delights 106.

Just caught up on this one again which I feel needs shouting about. Algeciras, Spain-based experimental space rock collective, Atavismo,  released their “Desintegración” debut Via Temple Of Torturous in June. Featuring within their ranks former members of Viaje a 800 and Mind!, their compositions are sprawling and consuming; echoing and hypnotic recalling the cosmic, jam-laden plumage of bands like Earthless, Motorpsycho, Wand and Dead Meadow.  Initially released on CD last year on Not On Label Records,  Desintegración was given the vinyl treatment via Temple Of Torturous on June 16, 2015 and comes in a gorgeous gatefold packaging limited to 300 copies. Previously featured on Sonic Attack 108.

Fell To Low was formed in 2009 in the sleepy town of Ojai, California, slowly honing their sound, creating angular ‘90s indie rock that takes cues from bands like Unwound, June Of 44 and Slint. Following the release of two successful 10” EPs and two 7” releases, “Low In The Dust” is the band’s debut full-length, and is a perfectly crafted record: every guitar note, every drum hit, every vocal howl has been painstakingly thought out and performed. Side A features four tracks that are at times heavy and technical, bringing to mind the more raucous moments of Drive Like Jehu with Side B featuring two tracks clocking in at over fourteen minutes each with a minimalist repetition made familiar by bands like Shellac. The record was mastered by Bob Weston of Shellac at Chicago Mastering to give it the perfect balance of cleanliness and grit, and is a testament to a band not willing to sacrifice quality over quantity in their output. Check out their previous releases on Bandcamp. The band is featured on Sonic Attack 114 this week.

Fell To Low live

The recent album from Luis Drayton “Inner Life” builds on the success of the excellent “Look Inside” release. Moving on from the more “punk” oriented nature of his previous work Luis has developed a driven electropop-sound (albeit with some punk elements), which when coupled with his voluble wordplay creates a heady mix.  The core Drayton menace is still in full effect but this time is contained within a rich electronic soundscape. Think Merrill Beth Nisker in faux fur, shades and a German Helmet and you are getting close.   Grab it from I-Tunes here.

Luis plays Settle Victoria Hall on August 1st , complete with lights, smoke machines and burlesque dancers he advises me- details below.

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Fascinating Things : Issue 11

Sounding a bit like Robert Forster singing with The Smiths Band of Holy Joy have a new  download single “Isn’t that just the life”  out on Stereogram on August 10th. A video accompanies the download and there will be a select number of dates across the UK. An album follows in September.

Isn't that just the Life - Download Artwork

I have been hand selected by  The Working Man (lead by the hardest man in Blackburn) to listen to their  new track “Big Bad John”. They advise me that they are not going to bore me on how  they  ‘merge different genres’ and ‘can’t be put into any category’ – they  appreciate , like themselves, that I am  very busy. A fascinating melange of differing things makes for a damn fine listen. It comes from a soon to be released album called “Lancashizer”. You can catch them at the Bierkellar in that Manchester on July 30th.

Ancient River‘s new album ‘Keeper of the Dawn’ stems from band founder James Burreto’s love of Italian horror films and the music of David Axelrod – some tracks are led by the vocals, others by the drums. The latest in a string of interesting albums the overall feel is airy psychedelia with space rock, shoegaze, and touches of Americana.  Opening track “This is the Time” is a bit of a stunner.

Steve Hauschildt has  announced his first new album since the late 2012 release of “Sequitur. Where All Is Fled” . It will be released via kranky on 25th September. Titled “Although Where All Is Fled” it sonically refers back to his earlier albums such as “Rapt for Liquid Minister” and “Tragedy & Geometry”, but on detailed listening it slowly becomes apparent that it is also a divergence from those recordings.

“Both the artwork and the music on this new work were heavily inspired by surrealist landscape paintings, early alchemical emblems, and recurring visions Steve had from dreams. The result is a pristine series of cascading melodies, fantastical terrains of layered lattices, and overlapping patterns of synthesizers superimposed with orchestral instrumentation. Hidden in the crevices of the album are processed crowd sounds, re-sampled text-to-speech synthesis, piano, and animal noises which reveal themselves after repeated listens and blur together notions of artificial and natural sound. While slowly unfurling, each sound is given it’s own place and space, never hurried, never cluttered.”

Helen is a pop group from Oregon featuring members of Grouper and Eternal Tapestry. Liz Harris (vocals/lead guitar), Jed Bindeman (drums/tambourine), Scott Simmons (bass/guitar), and Helen (back up vocals).  Originally started with the intention of being a thrash band, it turned into something else entirely.  “The Original Faces” was recorded over a period of several years in Portland by the band members, their friends Nick, Chris and, largely, Justin Higgins.  The record was written together, with some songs based on Liz and Scottʼs demos.

And finally for this edition of Fascinating Things

Rock Back for Nepal is the first in a 3-part series of disaster relief compilations being released by U.S. indie label Patetico Recordings. The label is partnering with nearly 60 independent artists and several small indie labels around the globe to make this happen. They have all come together in order to raise funds for victims of the recent catastrophic earthquakes in Nepal. All money raised will go directly to the relief efforts.
The compilations are being supported by several luminaries of the independent rock and shoegaze scene, among others. Whenever Tom Lugo reaches out to his musical family, you know it’s for a crucial and essential cause. The Rock Back for Nepal CD compilation is no exception,” explains Dean Garcia of seminal shoegaze bands Curve and SPC ECO. “I’m proud to be part of this relief effort / fund raiser for anyone affected by the recent earthquake disaster in Nepal and if I can help or contribute in some way to aid support and assistance to the many displaced people, I will without question. Please support this cause and donate as generously as you can.”

Perhaps one of the most renowned personalities in the shoegaze / noise rock spheres, Oliver Ackermann (A Place To Bury Strangers, Skywave) has also lent his support to the cause. “It is a horrible tragedy this destruction of culture and life. I feel lucky that I can use my craft and contribute a song to this fund to help them raise money for relief. If we can all do something to help and give relief for the people of Nepal we should do it now.”

“It’s great to be among this sparkling array of brilliant artists, taking action in support of a great cause,” says Marc Joy of Welsh outfit Lights That Change.  Alexx Kretov of Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma is also hopeful.”May the common freebie attitude fall to the wayside for this project. We really hope that people will support a higher cause by spending a few dollars and spreading this music far and wide.”
All three volumes are being released at the same time, and will be available through Bandcamp and Amazon.com exclusively, both digitally and on CD.The album artwork and design is by Gardy Perez.
The concept of the Rock Back compilation series was born in 2011 when disaster hit Japan and Tom Lugo, owner of Patetico Recordings, acted on his empathy for charitable causes and non-profit organizations by reaching out to the community of artists in his network. They collectively put together a compilation and the profits were donated to relief efforts. The response was overwhelming, with over 100 artists from across the globe joining in the efforts. What was to be a single CD compilation grew into the 8-disc compilation Rock Back for Japan. The compilation series hit the top 10 Indie Rock releases on Amazon.com’s chart for several weeks, with certain volumes holding the number 1 spot.

It’s The New Things

Artist : The Things 

Title : EP1

Label : Imperial

Release Date : August 14th 2015 things-sleeve2w

The Things are a Manchester, UK,  group that originally formed in 1979.  Inspired by the sounds of 60’s psychedelia and garage bands, such as The Seeds, the group were popular in a burgeoning post punk scene at the turn of the decade which included groups like The Fall, Magazine, The Distractions and The Hamsters. Whilst the front facing part of the local scene was obsessing over Factory Records, and its particularly dour outlook, the music scene in the Manchester conurbation was far more complex, varied and upbeat.

In March 1980 The Things were approached by John Maher and Richard Boon, respectively the drummer and manager of Buzzcocks. John asked if they would record a single as the first release on his new Imperial Records label. The band agreed on condition he became their drummer so did and made his Things debut in Liverpool a month later. The Things were soon playing regularly to packed crowds in Manchester at venues like The Band On The Wall , The Russell Club and The Beach Club.

The Things

The Things recorded a session of 4 tracks for Mark Radcliffe’s Transmission show on Piccadilly Radio, broadcast on 12 July 1980. A single, “Pieces Of You” was released in October 1980 followed by a British tour supporting Buzzcocks.

John Peel recorded The Things live at his roadshow at Manchester Polytechnic in 1980 for an album he planned to release but for reasons unknown to those outside the BBC the project was not completed and these recordings remain unreleased. On his Radio One show John Peel described The Things as ” a semi legendary Manchester band “.

Throughout 1981 The Things continued to be a regular draw on the Manchester post punk scene and beyond with bookings in London at the legendary Marquee Club and The Greyhound, Croydon. The Things played a final series of dates including support to New Order before disbanding early in 1982.

The Things decided to reform in 2012 and made some live appearances in 2013 with Brian Benson replacing John Maher on drums. With several gigs under their belt The Things returned to the studio in 2014 to record “the album we should have made in 1980″. The studio session saw the return of John Maher on drums, recreating the line up that recorded the Imperial Records single back in 1980. Brian Benson also played on some tracks and continues to play live dates with the band.

Things Launch

The band comprises Tim Lyons – Vocals, Dave Holmes – Guitar, Vocals, Joe Brehony – Bass, Rhythm Guitar, Ella Burton – Keyboards and Brian Benson – Drums.

The first EP from the sessions has now made its’ way to me via Joe Brehony. It will be launched on July 25th at Manchester’s Tiger Lounge with support being provided by The Disappeared.

With the music biz in the throes of a psych pop revival the timing couldn’t be better.  It is clear from the opening bass riff of “Nobody Wonders” that this band makes most of the current scenes garage/psych wannabees seem like rank outsiders. There’s a legitimacy and energy bursting out of this four track EP that puts this band up there with the greats. I never had the opportunity to see them live when they first emerged but I get a sense that the youthful enthusiasm that drove those early performances has been captured and flows from these recordings. The dreamy pop of “1000 Stars” has a glorious epic feel with Ella Burton’s keyboards holding the centre ground as Tim Lyons preaches the garage rock sermon through a wall of sound.

The re-recording of the original single “Pieces Of You” is a glorious piece of Spectoresque pop, complete with handclaps, a Hank Marvin solo from Dave Holmes, and a chorus to die for. Closing the set with a cover of The Seeds classic “Can’t Seem To Make You Mind” in a para-ska style the group signal that they are back with a clear intention to inform, educate and entertain.

This is a fantastic set of tunes and I look forward to hearing the forthcoming album.  The evocative cover for the EP was taken by John Maher whilst in America.  The music was recorded at Pro 2 Studio, Castleford, Yorkshire and mixed at Wee studio, Stornaway, in the Hebrides.

CD versions of the EP will be available at Tiger Lounge on the launch night and the download version will be available from the usual outlets on August 14th.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Fascinating Things : Issue 10

Limbs are back with a new five track – excellent as usual.

A new release from North Manchester’s The Madding Crowd is well worth a listen

Left-field alternative combo The Permanent Smilers are soon to release their debut album ‘One Real Big Identity Crisis’. Thirteen brand new songs which have been perfected over two years. The new single from the album is entitled Ghosts.

The Permanent Smilers are fronted by Rich Lemongrower, who writes the songs, sings them, and is responsible for guitars, keyboards and most of the percussion. Jonny Cole plays bass, and Pete Fraser drums. Dave Land (Starlight Express, Dame Shirley Bassey, amongst many others) guests on a number of tracks playing trumpet or flugelhorn. David Pye (Transgressive) completes the team by mixing the songs.

 It’s a fantastic retro sound from a band at the top of their game.

Le Butcherettes, who are in the midst of the ‘Chaos As Usual’ tour with the Melvins, have debuted ‘Shave The Pride’. The song comes from the previously reported forthcoming album,  “A Raw Youth” (Sept. 18, Ipecac Recordings).

Italy’s electro-gaze synth-wave duo A Copy For Collapse has released a new sinister video for ‘Grey Sunday’, the second single from their new LP ‘Waiting For’. This track is quite distinct from the first single ‘No Failure’, which had a strong nugaze element to it and a blissful track to match – this one is much darker with the video following a sinister story line.

Closing a three-year gap between LPs, revolutionary industrial/black metal outfit, Gnaw Their Tongues, release a long-awaited new full-length album in early August, “Abyss Of Longing Throats”.

Through nearly forty titles released in less than a decade, the music is created by Mories, the same man responsible for such acts as Aderlating, Cloak Of Altering, De Magia Veterum, Seirom and others. Though the band has hardly been quiet in the interim, it’s been a good three years since the last full-length album from this Dutch band. The new album  offers another  cacophony of mangled industrial black metal, lurching deformed heaviness, twisted electronic carnage and bombastic orchestral power that sounds like no one else.

From the frenzied noises that sweep across the doom-laden death industrial sound of opener “Lick The Poison From The Cave Walls” that eventually resolves into a glacial haze of bleary, blasted bliss, to the hallucinatory black metal of “Through Flesh” that fuses staccato violins, terrifying choral singing and gruelling mechanical doom to one of the most emotionally stirring sequences yet heard in the band’s catalogue, Abyss Of Longing Throats continues to chart the evolution of their sound. There’s plenty of the gruelling industrialized heaviness and violent orchestral sounds the band is known for, but this new material also expands upon the  blackened doom at the heart of the act’s music with those moments of striking melodic power, moments where all the horror surging through these songs suddenly transforms into something hauntingly elegiac. Brief passages of tragic beauty, scattered throughout an abyss roiling with relentless programmed blastbeats, sombre chamber strings hovering mournfully amid tortured shrieks, harsh clanking percussion and blasts of raging orchestral chaos.

Abyss Of Longing Throats is released via Crucial Blast on CD and digital platforms on August 7th, 2015, followed by a vinyl pressing later in the year.
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Fascinating Things : Issue 09

Montreal’s BIG | BRAVE have their second full length, “Au De La”, recorded and ready to release via Southern Lord 18th September.

Building spectacular, inverted rock constructions that sound many magnitudes bigger than one would suspect a trio were capable of, BIG | BRAVE have been in existence since 2012, with members spread across two guitars and drums respectively.

Unhurried and untouchable, BIG | BRAVE possess that same valued independent spirit which pervades their local contemporaries, and is at the root of their earnest and exploratory musical offerings. Au De La lulls and lurches between passages of rhythmic noise pollution and vocal led awe, using considered juxtapositions of force and restraint to warp the senses across the forty-five minute playing time. Remarkably quiet at times, their ambience is not one of minimalism, but of dawning, foreboding power with the need to be vented, and when the hot flushes of blighted percussion and monochromatic guitar scrapes arrive, they arrive with triumphant force.

Special guest Jessica Moss (Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra) lends her hand on a few of the album’s five tracks, casting shimmering nets of violin across the band’s turbulent passages.

Hot off the back of their latest release, A.D.D, just a matter of weeks ago, Jingo are ready for round two with “Ghost In The Machine”, the next track to be lifted from their upcoming EP (25th September).

Jack Buckett and Joe Reeves met Katie (now) Buckett in Brooklyn, New York, before luring her back to London. On returning to the big smoke, guitars in hand; Jingo, along with the new addition to the rhythm section, Chris Smith, have found themselves drawing influence from BRNS, Not Blood Paint, Interpol, Wolf Alice, Jeff Buckley and Prince to create their vivacious, driving sounds.

Mixed and produced by New York based producer Kahan James, Ghost In The Machine is something close to anthemic.

The single will be featured in a future Aural Delights podcast.

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Revelation Records release the “Vanished Crusade” debut LP from Southern California hardcore quintet, Forced Order, in early August.

Forced Order’s metallic hardcore style draws from ’90s Cleveland genre pioneers Integrity, Ringworm and In Cold Blood, merging said acts takes on beat-down riffs, dominating backup chants and malevolent, dive-bombing metal leads. Uniting a tight-knit set of musicians whom also spend time in Twitching Tongues, Disgrace, Soul Search, and others, the band’s jaw-clenching angst courses through every second of their debut LP, Vanished Crusade, the record delivering their metallic hardcore with unchained urgency, with haunting instrumental pieces infiltrating the ill-omened delivery of the record, helping to paint an appropriately bleak view of the world. The follow-up to their Retribution 7”, also released through Revelation, the band’s Vanished Crusade debut LP was produced by Taylor Young at The Pit (Nails, Xibalba, Twitching Tongues), the album delivering fourteen merciless, by the throat tracks that become instantly addictive.

Revelation Records release Vanished Crusade on CD and digital platforms on August 7th, with the vinyl version to follow shortly afterward.

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I’ve been sent details of the new  single by the Swedish electro-pop act Death In The Afternoon. The song is called ’82, and it is produced remotely by the duo themselves. Christian and Linda’s hard work, talent and artistic individuality seem to be paying off by having already gained the support of GQ Magazine, JaJaJa Music, Nordic By Nature to name a few.

Airy, dreamy and filled with stunning vocal lines, the single ‘82 begins with a steady beat and lures the listener into its eerily stunning sound right away.  The nostalgic feel of this mid-tempo summer soundtrack presents the widely respected Scandi winning formula of writing songs filled with skill, quality and creativity. Its tempered instrumental atmosphere is given a steady rise and a contrasting sense of melancholia by the distant lead vocals.

’82 will be released via Summer Heart’s label Sommarhjärta, and it will be available for sale and download everywhere from the 28th August.

As the next chapter in Relapse Records’ ongoing 25th anniversary commemoration, heavy music visionaries Neurosis will have two of their most revered and long out-of-print titles reissued on super deluxe 180-gram double vinyl this autumn. “Through Silver in Blood” (1996), which Fact Magazine recently deemed the #1 best post-metal album of all time, has not been printed on vinyl in ten years, while “Times of Grace” (1999) is seeing its first pressing in over fifteen years. Additionally, “Grace”the 1999 Tribes of Neurot companion piece to “Times of Grace”will also see a deluxe Relapse reissue, its first time ever on vinyl.

Each reissue will contain reinterpretations of the original iconic artwork and will be housed in heavy duty “tip-on” jackets and will be available in a variety of limited edition exclusive colors. The reissues are set for worldwide release  September 4th  and will also include full album digital download codes. Preorders for all of the editions can be currently found HERE.

Neurosis.