All posts by HalfEdgeMedia

Regular writing and podcasting about music

……displaced, almost vaporous intensity

tētēma, a new duo featuring Australian composer/pianist Anthony Pateras and Mike Patton release their debut album, Geocidal, on December 8th via Ipecac Recordings.

And here below is the first insight of the music on the album via the track ‘Tenz’, which is described by Anthony Pateras as follows…“This track experiments with a palimpsest of rhythmic microcosms, consisting of drums, voice, arp 2600, contrabass recorder, nylon string guitar and marimba. The orchestration attempts to create kaleidoscopic barber pole effect : a constantly rotating electro-acoustic cross-pollination which culminated in some kind of brutal polychronic trance music, albeit with a glockenspiel coda…”

The promo material for the new release reveals:

Geocidal is very much Anthony Pateras’ vision realised over one and a half years of recording. The record combines various musical elements from analogue electronics, strings, winds, brass, orchestral percussion, and vocals – each recorded in a different location which as Anthony describes creates a “displaced, almost vaporous intensity – it comes from everywhere and nowhere”. Every one of these musical elements on Geocidal was also played live, with no samples, hand-crafted and performed by a human – stemming from a desire to base everything on feel and instinct. Ultimately then, it represents universality and timelessness in music.

On Geocidal,  Pateras balances these kaleidoscopic elements from controlled brooding electronics to unrestrained explosive outbursts. Frenetic, trance-inducing percussion punctuates much of the record, making way for more spacious grooves and jazz rhythms. Elsewhere, widescreen string compositions rouse and stirring piano parts creep in, shifting into film noir atmospherics. All the while, this expansive sonic architecture allows Mike Patton much freedom to display his vast array of vocal techniques.  

  Combining this method of live recording, and the cross-pollination of an array of musical talent, Pateras allows for absolute stylistic freedom which makes Geocidal a very dynamic and unclassifiable album, where quality is never compromised by the quantity of ideas on display. As Tiny Mix Tapes said of Pateras’ music, it offers a look as to where “trailblazers of avant-garde are heading,” adding music lovers will “be captivated by his bold creative foray.”

All of that sounds enticing and the combination of serial jazz-leaning structures  and varying layers of  Patton’s menacing vocals makes for an interesting taster for what could very well be an excellent album.

Cathedral Juice, Slug Dempsey and other matters of note

Ten years since Mr Peel left us and at the same time a raft of albums have been released that I have no doubt he would be featuring were he still broadcasting.

And what better place to start…….

It should be of no surprise to anyone who is an avid collector of the work of The Fall that the latest release, gnomically titled “Live Uurop VIII-XII places in sun & winter, son”, is a mixed bag of live recordings of varying quality. It is not the first example of a release, from the most prolific of groups, which tests the fans patience with their massive output. Pieced together from various dates the material stretches way back, in terms of genesis, to 1982/3 with a reading of “Wings” complete with, for reasons which are inexplicable, some church bells ringing at the beginning, through to more recent stuff including the, as yet unreleased, “Auto (2014) Chip Replace”. There have of course, along with the addition of extra percussionist, Daren Garrett (ex Nightingales etc), been a host of new songs aired publicly since this lot was recorded so one can expect a new Fall album at some point. Having caught them recently at the Lower Kersal Social Club I get a sense that some of the new material is an improvement on recent releases, which is consistent with the sine curve of quality that goes alongside studio albums. Having recently re-read Brian Edge’s Paintwork book, and Steve Hanley’s book “The Big Midweek” it becomes increasingly clear that the group are an obsession which both gives joy and confounds in equal measure. Is it any good? Probably not, but it gets filed on the shelves with the other 100 or so CDs and will be a reference point for  work on a comprehensive Fall gigography which is currently underway and will hopefully be completed by next Spring, i’m up to 1981 and it is proving exceedingly slow progress.


Thurston Moore’s new album “The Best Day” is good in that it refers back in terms of overall sound and to some degree structure to the excellent “Murray Street” by Sonic Youth.  He has gathered a newish band around him, Steve Shelley returns on drums, and Moore seems somewhat revitalised by his new band members. On balance I think I prefer last years “Chelsea Light Moving” wherein Moore adopted a more louche Lou Reed-ish demeanour and a slighly more raw sound. However when you get down to it there is not a great deal he can do in terms of surprises, it’s all very much mapped out from probably “Sister” onwards, with the exception of his more “free jazz” experiments with the likes of Nels Cline and Walter Prati. Better I think to try and grab a copy of his work with John Moloney in Europe in 2012  (Fundamental Sunshine) which starts to explore some other avenues is a little less rock specific. On a similar line of thought I’ve been listening back to some early Glenn Branca recently, to which Moore and Lee Ranaldo were key collaborators and that sounds far more interesting, at least people were taking risks back then, aah, the folly of youth.


I wonder what Mr Peel would have made of Staggs? I hope he would appreciated their quirky charm and obtuse approach. Their latest single “When Eartha Kitt Met Pete Tong” is their best yet mixing a left field approach to electronica with Michael T.Scott’s scabrous vocalese. The A side is the marvellous Earth Kitt which mashes up references to Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Jagger & Richard whilst, subliminally at least, referencing the long lost Fall track “Tempo House”, The other A-side “It All Went Pete Tong” is a delightful chill wave piece with a John Barry elements which seems to cover a wide range of subjects including a failed love affair between a vegetarian and a butcher. Ridley and Scott are able to create something new and vital  with their work and I recommend them strongly to you. Their work to date can be accessed via Bandcamp and the new single will be available from German Shepherd Records as a digital download from 31st October.

EK image

The new Half Man Half Biscuit album “Urge for Offal” is great in a familiar way. We have got used, by now, to certain Blackwell formulas in albums and there are one or two of the characteristic performances therein, “The Unfortunate Gwatkin” being a classic “Nigel narrative” that then bursts into a song, this time with the memorable and utterly catchy line “Cresta, what the fuck were we drinking?”. There’s a punkier pop feel than of late with faster tempos and slightly harsher guitar sound on a number of songs, but there are the usual forays into mutant folk/country with a dollop of Wirralese, No stone is left unturned as Nigel mercilessly lampoons any number of current trends and tropes – Midge Ure gets a bit of a battering .  His ability to distill the state of the nation in a few pithy lines is legendary and he has lost none of his biting wit and utter daftness at times – I mean who else could rhyme beige with Standard Liege and mention Gerry Gow in the same song?  And here’s a thing, there’s a point in “Baguette Dilemma for the Booker Prize Guy” where Mr Blackwell sounds uncannily like Peter Hammill, a person he has, in the past, extracted from the micturant from with some venom. I often feel that the words are generally more important than the music with HMHB albums – when they get it spot on they can marry a great tunes with great words (i’m thinking “Gubba Lookalikes” for example) and there are a couple of gems on here but mostly it’s about standard “Merseybeat” chord sequences being used to deliver Blackwell’s words. There are a couple of interesting bits including the jaunty instrumental “Theme For Something Or Other”.  Having said all that it is by far the best release for October and the album I am likely to play more than once over the coming weeks.  Always the sign of a good album I feel is not particularly warming to it on the first listening but repeated plays leads to more appreciation of the detail.


Early Fugazi

In early January 1988 and after only ten shows, Fugazi decided to go into Inner Ear Studio to see what their music sounded like on tape. The sessions only lasted a couple of days, but tour dates and indecision about the tape would delay the final mix for another two months. Though the band was at first pleased with the results, it soon became clear that this tape would remain a demo as new songs were being written and the older songs were evolving and changing shape while the band was out on tour. It was decided that the session would be passed out free as cassette copies, with the band actively encouraging people to share the recording. In the spring, Fugazi went out on its first U.S. tour and a few weeks after returning from the road they went back to Inner Ear to record what would become their debut Dischord release, the self-titled 7-song 12″ EP.The only song from the demo session that was formally released was “In Defense of Humans”, which appeared on the State of the Union compilation in 1989. Now, some 26 years later, Dischord is releasing the entire first demo including the one song (“Turn Off Your Guns”) that wasn’t included on the original cassette.
This release also coincides with the completion of the initial round of uploads to the Fugazi Live Series website. Launched in 2011, the site lists and details all of Fugazi’s 1000+ performances and makes available close to 900 concert recordings that were documented by the band and by the public, as well as countless flyers, ticket stubs, posters, and photographs. After two years of work, all of the recordings in the band’s archive are finally posted.

You can preorder it here


Fishy Business

Plastic Fish Records is a Leeds based independent UK record label which provides the voice and the support for underground bands. They have already signed a variety of indie acts who, they say,  represent the sound of youth and vigorous energy from all over the world.

On the 27th October 2014 they  will release a compilation EP called “American Sole”, which will include the best upcoming new indie acts from The UK, The States and Europe.

This is a fresh and entertaining collection of new music with some stand-out material. If you are in search of new and interesting bands to introduce some variety into your listening then you would do well to invest in this eight song 30 minute collection.

Artists featured on the release are:

“Beach Youth” is an indie-pop band from Normandy in France. The band consists on Simon Dumottier, Etienne Froidure, Louis-Antonin Lesieur and Gautier Caignaert. As their name suggests, this four-piece and their new single “Days” have an unmistakable taste for tropical rhythms and sun-soaked instrumentation which sits comfortably between Swim Deep, Phoenix and Magic Man.

“The Sea The Sea” are Danny Crane-Brewer, David Freeman, Matthew Clarkson, Marcus Breese and Stu Norfolk are from Oxford who have recently performed with the likes of Tall Ships, My Grey Horse and the Black Tambourines. Their new single “Captives” is all about twin guitars, dynamic soundscapes and an underlying authenticity, which can be easily compared to Klaxons and The 1975.


“Joey Fourr” is the new lo-fi indie pop project from ex-Tubelord frontman Joe Prendergast, which has been supported by the likes of Crack Magazine. As Joey Fourr, Predergast creates memorable and drum machine-powered tunes which, in their core, resemble the likes of Happy Mondays, Beach Fossils and Fear Of Men. His latest single “Boyz II Girlz” is all about hooky vocal lines, animated forward motion and shambolic energy.


“Nicotine Dream” a  New York-based duo consisting of Nicholas Burk and Marshall Rauh who are all about raw energy and emotion. Like a blend between Swim Deep’s youthful carelessness with a touch of White Lies’ professional precision, Nicotine Dream’s new single “Don’t See It Coming” shows that authentic guitar music is timeless.


“Yoofs” are a pristine and proggish indie pop duo from Bournemouth.  Getting inspired by the likes of John Lennon, Tame Impala and Portugal The Man, their upcoming single “Can’t Think” presents the dreamy, detached sneer of the vocals beautifully combined with atmospheric guitars, soaring harmonies and creating the sonically radiant surge of energy. The stand out track on the compilation.

“King TV” – a London based lo-fi four-piece who fit in perfectly somewhere between The Vaccines, The Dandy Warhols and The Warlocks. Their latest single “Stop Your Crying” is all about guitar riffs, psychedelia and glam. It bristles with the infallible ease and confidence that all the best debuts have.


“Ghosthouse” A Chicago-based electro-funk trio know how to balance analog ideals and digital reality. Chuck New, Jimmy Con and Dylan Hyde Castle have mastered a way of combining the modern DJ culture with live instrumentation and dynamic 80s production. Influenced by the likes of Chromeo, The Clash and Madness, “Carry On” is all about a killer melody and colourful vocal lines. Chuck New’s impressive vocal range bears the influences of classic mid-west R&B and British new wave, with a remarkable knack for engaging melodies and harmonies set to dynamic beats.


“Inspired And The Sleep” – What began as a solo project for songwriter Max Greenhalgh has since evolved into a 4 piece psychedelic indie pop outfit, filled out by the San Diegan boys Bryce Outcault (guitar and keys), Zach Elliot (drums), and Ryan Linvill (tenor sax). A mixture between Here We Go Magic, The Kinks and The Kooks, Inspired And The Sleep focus on rhythm, melody and vocal lines. Greenhalgh’s loop-based ideas are reworked through collaborative effort into full-band, groove-based pop tunes. Their new single “Pool Guard” shows the San Diego band’s refined approach to constructing tunes with enhanced production while hinting towards Greenhalgh’s previous lo-fi ponderings.


You can preview the release here……

And you can pre-order the whole lot here –

No trace of cunning or guile

Once again a busy week with much new material to consider……

First up, released on October 28th are Swedish trio Honeymilk who have been compared to The Strokes but sound a bit like a modern version of Pavement to me……

The ever excellent Dope Body have released a video to tie in with their new album “Lifer” which I mentioned a couple of weeks back….

….and here is “Hired Gun” also from the album

Isis are re-issuing their excellent album Oceanic and i’d like to share a track with you but the link i’ve been given doesn’t work.

The Art of Amputation unveil AA side ‘Californian English’, described as “a stunning, synth driven masterpiece and the perfect accompaniment to the intricately layered and uplifting melody of ‘Distorted Pop Song’.

The split 7” EP from Sierra Vista, Arizona-based Fuzz Evil and Southern California’s Chiefs is out now on Battleground Records. On the A-side, the former delivers a nearly five-and-a-half minute, solid, groove-laden, heavy psych rock track, “Glitterbones.” Hailing from Sierra Vista, Arizona, the band is comprised of Wayne and Joey Rudell of Powered Wig Machine on vocals/guitar and vocals/bass, respectively, and drummer Marlin Tuttle. Flip to the B-side, and the more than five-and-a-half minute big time jam of Chiefs’ fiery “Stone Bull” lets loose. The California-based outfit, on this recording consisting of Paul Valle on vocals/guitar and Stephen Varns on drums, delivers prime, hard-hitting desert rock, as declared from the opening riff of their side of the shared release. Limited to 300 copies, the heavy grey vinyl with white splatters is cut at 45 RPM, the FUZZ side featuring artwork by David Paul Seymour and the CHIEFS side by the band’s Joey Rudell.

The Actions are a London based alt-rock duo who have been busy touring Europe and supporting Green Day. After having worked closely with Warner Chappell on their previous material, Silty and Mo have decided it was time to mix things up a bit.  The Echo combines various elements of electronica, post rock and psychedelic ambience.  It is a sonic tribute to the likes of Garbage, Underworld and Sneaker Pimps. The Echo will be available for sale and download 8th December 2014 via Niteo Records. I was a bit conflicted on this one, but it is growing on me…..

There’s a new release from Vodun which introduces their new tour – they are at Kraak gallery Manchester on the 28th if you are into their particular blend of voodoo imagery and blues rock….

West Yorkshire’s Allusondrugs hammer home the release of their self-titled EP with a brand new track and video. ‘I Should Have Gone To Uni’ is a stomping, retro grunge single inspired by the anxiety of growing up and moving on that is available as a free download from SoundCloud.


Brighton based Morning Smoke have been keeping very busy this summer by performing at variety of shows and festivals including The Great Escape, supporting Joel Gion and recording new material.

 The four-piece, who are all still under 20 years old, have only been playing together as a band for one year. They have, however, already caught the attention of  the inkie press and been played on national radio.

Milo, Max, Isaac and Chris are ready to release their double-a single called Hunger and Stephanie I.  They have  been compared to Sonic Youth, Joy Division and Interpol,  but they sound a bit like the Bunnymen to me with a slight echo of “The League of Baldheaded Men” in one of the riffs in the tune above.

Milo’s vocal impact is somewhat lessened by the huge wave of reverb, and to some degree I was reminded of the doomed WULYF,  but this lot are better than them and the other material on their soundcloud page is well worth a listen and I think it’s actually better than the single.

The  double-A single will be available for sale and download on 1st December 2014.