All posts by HalfEdgeMedia

Regular writing and podcasting about music

Edinburgh, Melbourne and Brisbane

The Nectarine No 9

Nebraska Falls (Postcard/Shake)

Fried for Blue Material (Creeping Bent)

Dave Graney ‘n The Coral Snakes 

The Mercury Years 1994-1997 (Universal)

The Go-Betweens

G stands  for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (Domino)

The recent news that the Sexual Objects were releasing a one item only album with the added attraction of the purchaser getting the rights to distribute it as they see fit struck me as a suitable comment on the state of the music industry.

Around the same time of catching that news my friend Bob Stow wrote me a series of e-mails to me around the subject of catching Dave Graney and Clare Moore in London during 2014. Bob’s always potent writing brought to life three gigs I had sadly had to miss.

Coincidentally towards the end of last week I had been prowling the nether regions of Amazon and I chanced upon some reasonably priced copies of two Nectarine No 9. albums I hadn’t got,  and the recent Mercury Set of Dave Graney and the Coral Snakes albums from ’94 to ’97.  Synchronicity and all that.

Add to that the recent release of part one of The Go-Betweens retrospective which apart from the thee original albums from the 1978-84 period has the early singles on vinyl and  four CDs worth of rare, unreleased material and you have on your hands a wonderful few hours of listening.

I spent a lot of the early 90s working too hard and developing a career and most of my disposable income was spent on the rather large collection of jazz  and music by The Fall which surrounds me as I type.  It was only Mr Stow, and fellow Northamptonian Mr Gibbins, that kept me up to speed with what should have been listening to in the slightly off the mainstream world of rock and pop. Three memorable recommendations from that period were The Go-Betweens “Springhill Fair”, the Nectarines “A C with three Stars” and Dave ‘n’ The Coral Snakes “The Lure of the Tropics” all of which eventually lead to the lifetime appreciation and collection of the work of Messrs Forster, McLennan, Henderson and Graney.

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With Mr Graney’s “Fearful Wiggings” fresh in my mind as one of the outstanding albums of last year I was pleased to receive my collection of albums from Amazon this week, time to bask in the heady days of the latter end of the last century and bring back some happy musical memories.

Of course I really wanted to find a copy of the Nectarines  “Guitar Thieves” or a reasonably priced copy of one of Henderson’s Win albums (£99 for the first one I thought was a tad steep) but I’ve made do with the Canadian imprint “Niagara Falls” which includes versions of most of “A C With 3 Stars” and one or two rarities including a cover of VUs “Inside of Your Heart”. The companion Nectarine disc “Fried for Blue Material” takes the more esoteric element of the debut album and builds on them to create a combination of songs, incidences and impressions. Another hidden gem in Mr Henderson’s impressive canon.

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The Dave Graney box set encompasses three crucial albums from the great man’s career between 1994-1997. The first “You Wanna Be There But You Don’t Wanna Travel” is stuffed to the gills with Graney treasures from the triumphant “Warren Oates” to the exquisite and nostalgic “There Was A Time”  and many more between. The writing. musically and lyrically on the this album is Dave at his very best. The second “The Soft ‘N’ Sexy Sound” was the one that got Dave his Aria and it’s easy to understand why. He moves from the tongue in cheek near-pop of “Apollo 69″ through the soulful “I’m Not Afraid to Be Heavy” to the intense “Scorched Love Affair” to the utterly marvellous “Morrison Floorshow”.  The third album “The Devil Drives” was a strong hint of Dave’s future direction post ‘Snakes, the songs becoming less pop and more unique musical narratives, fascinating in their construction and subject matter. A remarkable collection of music.

It does beg the question why Mercury didn’t go for the whole DG & CS canon and include the outstanding “Night of the Wolverine” and the unforgettable live album “The Lure of the Tropics” – but what would I know I don’t run a record label now do I? (I’m being ironic)  A pity really having all of that in one place would have been great and they could have included the tracks from the Bonus Disc from The Soft ‘N Sexy Sound that are not on Crayfish Palace Royalty disc which forms part of the four piece box set. The set of rarities includes a raft of rare tracks including the nascent version of “Morrison Floorshow” in the form of “It’s Your Crowd That  I Hate”.

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And so to the Go-Betweens.  Now then, I have the bulk of their stuff in one form or another and it’s all marvellous,  but the recent Domino box set does allow the opportunity to hear the complete development of their early work in one place. Particularly interesting is the compact disc of earliest material from 1978/9 and the nascent sound of the song-writing duo that would build into incomparable team that delivered so many fine albums and songs.

The box set includes the first vinyl re-pressings of their first three studio albums in over thirty years (Send Me A Lullaby, Before Hollywood & Spring Hill Fair), all re-mastered from the original analogue tapes.  However it is the rarities and live sets that uncover a band developing from stripped down angular post-punkers into a fully fledged unique and incomparable band.

I can’t think of many bands or musicians who have consistently given me listening pleasure over the last forty years as much as The Go-Betweens, plus Davy Henderson and Dave Graney in their variations incarnations. They rank alongside Beefheart, Zappa, Miles and Trane, and of course The Fall as people who enriched my life.

I recommend all of these releases to you unequivocally, but then I would wouldn’t I?

Drum and Bass……

Ghold‘s highly anticipated second full-length has been confirmed for release by Ritual Productions on March 16th. The band has shared a selection of the gargantuan sounds present on Of Ruin for the curious…

The two components of bass and drums are bound together  tight on Of Ruin with explosive results. Intrinsically heavy and elastically supercharged, Ghold create a heavy package. The wealth of ideas presented by Paul Antony and Aleks Wilson on Of Ruin ably demonstrate why commentators tipped them as one to watch for 2015.

Album engineer Dan Miller recalls the process; “We basically locked our selves in the studio, slept on the floor, and just really pushed everything as far as we could. It was a real heady environment of manic creativity, where anything and everything was tried, and a lot of the more weird or offbeat ideas ended up really working. The result I think is something at times pretty heavy and mean, but also quite beautiful, warm, lush and completely original.”

The  duo fuse elements of power violence, doom, gloom and heavy rock with epic vocal arrangements. Since their inception in 2012, Ghold have been steadily amassing fans, following their self-released, self-titled demo in 2012, an LP Cassette and CD release in 2013, and from countless shows performing alongside the likes of Stephen O’Malley, Yob, Pallbearer & Årabrot.

Of Ruin, mastered by James Plotkin, shall be available on CD and LP formats via Ritual Productions on 16th March, the band will officially launch their album on 20th March at the Black Heart in London.

http://www.ghold.co.uk

Photo credit : Daniel Ali

Best described as apocalyptic

Pombagira return with their sixth album since their inception in 2007. Flesh Throne Press sees the band expanding on themes covered in their previous double album release Maleficia Lamiah. Recorded in July 2014 across two intense weeks the band put down over 80 mins of material all of which will be made available on the double CD and double album, both of which will be released by Svart Records on 23rd March 2015.

More concise in its delivery than Maleficia Lamiah, the overall cerebral effect upon the listener is best described as apocalyptic and this is accomplished by way of some of  the heaviest songs Pombagira have written to date,

Here is a preview of the title track

http://www.pombagira.org.uk

http://www.pombagira.bigcartel.com/

http://www.svartrecords.com/

Photo credited to Vic Singh

Dancing Over Burning Rome

In March 2015, ZU are preparing to release a brand new full length via Ipecac Recordings, entitled Cortar Todo.

For over fifteen years, ZU’s modus operandi of straddling and abusing musical genres has resulted in over fifteen unique album releases across labels such as Ipecac, Atavistic and Headz (Japan). Their experimental amalgam of metal, math, no-wave, noise and electronics, led acclaimed composer John Zorn to describe their sound as “a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days”.

In the running for the title of ‘the world’s hardest working band’, ZU have performed over 2000 shows throughout Europe, US, Canada, Asia, Russia, Mexico and even Africa, touring with the like of Mike Patton (as the Zu/Patton quartet), also sharing the stage with Faith No More, Fantomas, The Melvins, Lightning Bolt, Sonic Youth, The Ex, and countless others. They have also collaborated with a vast number of musicians including Mike Patton, The Melvins, Dälek, Jim O’ Rourke, FM Einheit (Einsturzende Neubauten), Peter Brötzmann, Nobukazu Takemura, Eugene Robinson (Oxbow), Steve MacKay (The Stooges), The Ex, Thurston Moore, Stephen O Malley, Damo Suzuki (Can), Mats Gustafsson, NoMeansNo, Joe Lally (Fugazi).

Five years since their last full length on Ipecac, the critically acclaimed Carboniferous, and following a three year hiatus, ZU returned in May 2014 with the release of a brand new EP, Goodnight Civilization (Trost Records) and with a line up change that introduced Gabe Serbian, best known as the drummer for the legendary Californian band, The Locust.

Recorded in the countryside near Bologna, Italy, in the summer of 2014, the album features some very special guests including keyboard player Joey Karam (The Locust), Italian guitar maverick Stefano Pilia (who plays regularly with the likes of Mike Watt, David Grubbs and Rokia Traore) and perhaps most unexpectedly, a field recording of an indigenous Shipibo medicine man recorded by Massimo during his travels around the Amazon.

Here is a taster:

Photo credit to Sarah D’Uva

Reaping Discipline

Various Artists
(We’ve Got) FIENDS IN LOW PLACES: Heavy Vibes Internationale
Eolian Empire
Release: 3 February 2015

ELN30_FIENDSdigital

Portland, Oregon outsider/underground label Eolian Empire have released details of their thirtieth  release which comes in the form of a various artists compilation (We’ve Got) FIENDS IN LOW PLACES: Heavy Vibes Internationale,

This special collection marks a new start for the Eolian team, since to date they have only released Portland-centric music. FIENDS IN LOW PLACES features a glut of output from the Eolian acts from around the globe; a gnarled calling card, with more than fifty minutes of champions of the international heavy underground in North and South America, Europe, Australia, and Japan. Fifteen bands bash away on a selection of stark, aggressive, noise-laden tunes, an eclectic and electric collection of heavy, noisy, weird, outsider, and underground music.

Featuring THROAT(Finland), ARABROT (Norway), HEALTH PROBLEMS (USA), MoE(Finland), THE GREAT SABATINI (Canada), DEAD (Australia),BASTARD OF THE SKIES (England), HOMBRE MALO (Norway),SAME-SEX DICTATOR(USA), TEEPH (USA), CYBERNE (Japan),TIMEKILLER (Japan), ELEPHANT RIFLE (USA), BATPISS (Australia), and MEADOWS (England) this collection of musical misfits take you on a wild trip through twisted noise rock, bludgeoning sludge, psychotic metal, blackened hardcore, and damaged punk.

FIENDS IN LOW PLACES is the sequel and companion compilation to Eolian’s (We’ve Gotta) KEEP OUR HEADS: Heavy Vibes from Portland, Oregon, which featured twenty-six heavy Portland bands.

FIENDS IN LOW PLACES is available for will see cassette and digital release on February 3rd, 2015.

Track Listing:
1. MEADOWS “Gobshite”
2. SAME-SEX DICTATOR “Mass Krusader”
3. ARABROT “The Libertine”
4. THROAT “Clean Cleaner”
5. CYBERNE “Pozes”
6. HEALTH PROBLEMS “A Stuck Horse”
7. BASTARD OF THE SKIES “Brass Cattle”
8. THE GREAT SABATINI “Slow Jam”
9. BATPISS “Heavy Smoke (Stoned to Death)”
10. TEEPH “Church Vape Sesh”
11. HOMBRE MALO “The Fall”
12. TIMEKILLER “Sick of Myself”
13. MOE “Where’s the DJ”
14. ELEPHANT RIFLE “Frat Poison”
15. DEAD “Rabbits”

An excellent selection of bands with sufficient variety to maintain interest for nearly 55 minutes of listening. The stand out track of the collection is from the delightfully named Batpiss. Overall this is a fine statement of the health of the outsider/underground music scene.

http://eolianempire.com
http://facebook.com/eolianempire
http://twitter.com/eolianempire

Angry Young Men

CDC
End
Get This Right Records
17 February 2015

COVER

Lansdale, Pennsylvania-based hardcore outfit, CDC, is known for doing everything DIY to the core, having toured to almost every corner of the planet over the past decade — playing in over forty countries to date, including Madagascar, South Africa, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Turkey, and most of southeast Asia — without a booking agent or manager. Their streetwise, outspoken style is forged on heavy grooves and a unique layering of vocal parts and tones, unifying hardened founders of the genre like Warzone, Merauder, Inside Out, 100 Demons and Bulldoze with the more modern persuasion of E.Town Concrete, Alpha & Omega and Incendiary.

Initially formed as a studio project in 2003 with members hailing from Southeastern Pennsylvania towns Lansdale, Doylestown, and Perkasie, with an instant local buzz surrounding them, CDC began playing shows all over the East Coast of America and released several smaller items over the next five years. In 2009, CDC took everything to the next level, releasing their five-song Burn EP on Filled With Hate Records, at the same time beginning to tour extensively across the globe. Since 2010 the band has been mildly dormant, only surfacing every couple months to play a hand full of shows and a few scattered tours throughout the years.

However, earlier this year CDC recorded five new tracks with Vince Ratti at Skylight Studios and mastered by Will Yip at Studio 4, now coming together for release at the beginning of 2015 in the form of the End, their first new release since 2009. End will come out as a split label release between European label Beatdown Hardwear and Pennsylvania-based Get This Right Records, which is partially owned/operated by CDC drummer John Bowes, the band’s current lineup also still including original members, vocalist Brooke Schwartz and guitarist Brendan Hagey, with John Lowe from Rock Bottom filling in as live bassist.

Balancing an urban snarl with a wall of unforgiving guitars and d-beat percussion here is a band that puts some considerable thought into the construction of their pieces. The dynamic multifaceted structure of this material is very refreshing and this release is highly recommended.

https://www.facebook.com/CDCHC
http://www.coldcutsmerch.com/cdc
http://www.twitter.com/cdchardcore
https://www.facebook.com/gtrrecords
http://getthisrightrecords.bandcamp.com
http://www.coldcutsmerch.com/gtrr

Ill Omened Ballads

GODHUNTER & AMIGO THE DEVIL
The Outer Dark
The Compound / Battleground Records
14 February 2015

GODHUNTER-AMIGO front_web

The Compound  and Battleground Records are preparing for the release of The Outer Dark, a collaborative 7” from Tucson’s GODHUNTER and Miami’s AMIGO THE DEVIL.

With an ominous, acoustic, folk/Western musical theme far from GODHUNTER’s abrasive hardcore/crust-influenced sludge attack, here the quintet — guitarists/vocalists Jake Brazelton, David Rodgers, bassist Dick Williamson, drummer Andy Kratzenberg, and keyboardist/cellist/effects producer Matthew Davis — is joined by one Danny Kiranos, a.k.a. AMIGO THE DEVIL, who supplies soaring vocals and ethereal theremin contributions to the two-song 7”, The Outer Dark. Delivered at 45RPM on quality black wax for maximum clarity, the A-side’s “Weeping Willow” is a fully original, ill-omened ballad from the collective, while the B-side is a bleak rendition of Nirvana’s “Something In The Way.” The record was recorded in multiple sessions during the Summer of 2014 at Arcane Digital Studios in Chandler, Arizona, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Ryan Butler.

The Outer Dark will see release on Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2015, through a union of GODHUNTER-co-owned Battleground Records and Earsplit’s label, The Compound.

A remarkably fine pair of tunes.

http://dirtweedmetal.com

http://godhunter.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/godhuntertucson666

http://www.facebook.com/battlegroundrecords

http://www.thecompoundrecs.com

http://thecompound.bandcamp.com

http://www.facebook.com/TheCompoundRecs

http://www.earsplitdistro.com