Author Archives: HalfEdgeMedia
It is September and around here that can only mean one thing for discerning music lovers – the Salford Music Festival.
Now in its’ fifth year the organisers have once again served up an amazing cocktail of venues and acts over the four nights. As is customary here is my day to day guide of events with some tips on who to check out. As usual I recommend you check the Salford Music Festival Website on the day as events, locations and line-ups can change. No doubt also this blog post will change over the next week so keep checking back. My recommended gig of the day is highlighted in BOLD
All gigs are free except where marked.
THURSDAY 25th September
Highlight of the opening night is the debut gig of electro wizard The Junta at Wangies. The alter ego of Salford City Radio DJ and Kit B bassist John “Monty” Montague serves up a heady brew of Kraftwerk inspired motorik beats mashed up with a variety of electronica influenced via Depeche Mode, OMD and New Order.
- Ashley Brook, Langworthy – The Jane and Mike Band , Boz Hayward, Y Key Operators
- Eagle Inn, Blackfriars – Mr Heart As Able As Kane
- The Blind Pig, Monton – Martin Plock, Kate Ashton-Butler
- The Blue Bell, Monton – Beth Hewitt, The Atmospherics
- The Crescent, Chapel Street – BeatsAllDay, My Igloo, morning pilgrims, Urban Empire
- The Hope, Claremont – Samantha Seth, Northern Sugar, Explicit
- The Park, Monton – Ged Wilson, Old House Playground, Dead Dianas
- The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Seeking Sighs, Matt Hartless & The Matchstick Ghosts
- The Wellington, Irlam o’th Height – Avishek Choudhury, Jay Deane, Jules Benji
- Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height – Sayed, Johnny Travis AKA Scuttler, Liam McClair
- Wangies, Eccles – Mutha Luvin Chimps, The Junta, Ronin
FRIDAY 26th September
The return of Carl Lingard’s Pearl Divers is well worth checking out at the Ashley Brook but the must see combination of the night is the heady brew of Chorley’s Taser Puppets, Salford’s dark wave pioneers Factory Acts, the neo-psych of Weirds and post-punk agit-prop from The Giro-Babies. Also recommended is the very strong line-up at Wangies with Danielle Carter’s Blue Zen kicking things off.
- Ashley Brook, Langworthy – Carl Lingard
- Duke of York, Eccles – Arcane Flx, Rum Thief
- Eagle Inn, Blackfriars – Gorilla Riot
- Playfoots, Monton – Rum Thief, DJ Meza, DJ Mky Mk
- The Blind Pig, Monton – Roz Francis, Sayed, Palumbo and Volpe
- The Blue Bell , Monton – The Chief of Seattle
- The Crescent, Chapel Street – Taser Puppets, Factory Acts, Weirds, Giro Babies
- The Dockyard, Salford Quays – Palumbo and Volpe, Jess Roberts, Lisbon, LVLS, Priestley
- The Hope, Claremont – Maisetto
- The Park, Monton – Scott Lloyd, Dave’s Rockin Train, James Holt
- The Roadhouse, Manchester – Thunderous Jones, The Rubys
- The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Alfie Eastwick, April Keen & Band, Inego
- The Weaste, Weaste – Johnny Travis AKA Scuttler
- The Wellington,Irlam o’th Height – Karl Walsh
- Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height- Sam Moran, Gaz Bailey, Jake Heard
- Wangies, Eccles – Blue Zen, Franks Wild Years, Deaf FM, Sky Valley Mistress
SATURDAY 27th September
Gig of the day is The Fall , back in the irwell valley at the Lower Kersal Social Club. Mark E Smith and co are supported by exceptional prog-nouveau from Eccles’ own Trojan Horse and power-punk from Benefit State
- Ashley Brook – Matt Friars, Duke and the Darlings, The People
- Duke of York, Eccles – Little Rach, Sound Marshalls, Jess Kemp, Dirty No 5
- Lower Kersal Social Club, Lower Kersal – Benefit State, Trojan Horse, The Fall (ticketed)
- Pacifica Cantonese, Eccles – VIP Dance Party – Exclusive DJ sets from Tony Ross (Kaos leeds warehouse, Glastonbury, festival No6), Marc Heath -(Education, Zoo, Wobble), DJ Meza -( Decadence – Gatecrasher) Robin Smith (Caramello) (ticketed)
- Playfoots, Monton – WellNorthofWatford, Caoilfhionn Rose, Jamie Bosanko, DJYan
- The Blind Pig, Monton – Lee Parry, Caoilfhionn Rose,
- The Blue Bell, Monton – We Signal Fire, Paul Hegley Band, Kassoma
- The Crescent, Chapel Street – Czech, The Backhanders, Death to the Strange, Creek
- The Dockyard, Salford Quays – Shauna Mackin, Gallery Circus, King Kartel
- The Hope, Claremont – Belvadere, Rime Suspex, Tigerside, Kazo ( Formerly The Ordinary)
- The Park, Monton – Red Light Effect, Smashing Lads, The Calamities
- The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Bella Loka, Lil Sharls, Paul Hegley Band
- The Weaste, Weaste – Sam Westhead and Band
- The Wellington, Irlam o’th Height- James Holt, The Stirs, Fishing For Compliments
- Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height- Afrotree, Eleanor Nelly
- Wangies, Eccles – Ed Stones & The BD3, Red Eyed Jedi, Faster Than Bulls
SUNDAY 28th September
Gig of the day again is The Fall with an all dayer at Lower Kersal Social Club from 3:30pm and the headliners on at 8pm. Guests at this one are still to be announced.
- Duke of York, Eccles – Skyeladder, Empire Signals, Rising Tides
- Lower Kersal Social Club, Lower Kersal – All Dayer from 3:30pm – The Fall and Guests (ticketed)
- Playfoots, Monton – Benjamin Birkinshaw
- The Blind Pig, Monton – Troubadour
- The Crescent, Chapel Street – Government Death Epidemic, Friend Of A Friend, Coach Jeets, Jordan Allen, Busik Mase
- The Park, Monton – Acoustic John, Venture, Troubadour
- The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Fishing For Compliments, R.Y.A.N
- The Wellington, Irlam o’th Height – XMenBTeam, The Folkestra
- Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height – As You Like It, Mark Daynes
- Wangies, Eccles – Pelico, Nathan Barratt & His Mates, Lauren Housley
Another particularly busy week, either I am a victim of my own success, or the summer is drawing to a close and people are getting busy. This selection, described below, is a demonstration, I think, that there is still interesting and varied music out there should you be minded to track it down – if I was to believe the nonsense a national newspaper sends me each week about what is hip and happening I think I would become quickly disillusioned. The variety and continuity of change here also perhaps reflecting my own mood and the desire to move on and away from one thing and transfer my attention to another. Recent decisions in respect of responsibilities have lifted a great weight allowing more time to absorb and enjoy this excellent music. Onwards!
First up is the new one from Ides of Gemini which is called “Old World New Wave”. It is released on Neurot on 15th September. The three band members—Sera Timms (vocals/bass), Kelly Johnston-Gibson (drums/backing vocals), and Jason Bennett (guitar/backing vocals) have managed to create something which hangs between Siouxsie Sioux inspired goth, and, metal. The follow-up to the band’s critically-adored “Constantinople” debut, was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Johnston-Gibson. Here’s a preview track called Fememorde, i’d embed it to save you clicking but in this instance that facility appears to have been denied me. It’s not grabbing me the way that “Constantinople” did but it’s still a good listen.
A new EP from Manchester band Ill is about and around called “The Housewives’ Trilogy”. Originally a special session recorded for Jeff Grainger’s Dandelion Radio show, the release comprises three (obviously!) previously unreleased tracks and features the usual genre bending and obscene rhetoric that fans of ILL have come to expect. Hysteria, Diazepam and Secret Life noisily combat the myth of marital bliss and gender role satisfaction. Great for doing the ironing to allegedly. The groups development is palpable on this release, I am not sure about ironing more perhaps a desire to do a few groovy moves to some of this. Get it!
Old Man Gloom, the self-confessed experimental hardcore ‘supergroup who don’t suck’, are back with their sixth full-length, “The Ape of God”, due for a release on Profound Lore on November 17th. Their first record since the esteemed 2012 release, “No”, the experimental quartet have since cracked on with their quest to dismantle, disrobe and derail heavy progressive music as we know it. Apparently “The eight tracks on The Ape of God are laden thick with amorphous tone, seething noise and Mobius Strip riffs, deftly balancing colossal heaviness with ambient pedigree”. Formed in the late ‘90s in Santa Fe, New Mexico by Aaron Turner (Isis, Mamiffer) and drummer Santos Montano, Old Man Gloom was conceived as sonic experiment of sorts. Their “Meditations In B” debut was just a glimpse into the noisier and more experimental side within Turner’s musical repertoire, enabling him to explore his musical range a bit beyond what he was doing with Isis at the time (which was a time even before Isis really took off). Shortly after Nate Newton of Converge and Caleb Scofield of Cave In would join the band (with Luke Scarola on electronics), and Kurt Ballou of Converge would end up serving as the band’s longtime spomd engineer. The results of this union culminated in the “Seminar I” and “Seminar II” releases and the 2004 follow-up album “Christmas”, which helped in defining the band as one of the most influential in the genre of post-hardcore, alongside the band members’ main musical outlets who were obviously already heavyweights in the genre respectively. An extended period of inactivity for eight or so years would then commence with the band members focusing on their main bands at the time. That is until Turner (who by now had put Isis to rest), Montano, Newton, and Scofield secretly conspired Old Man Gloom’s resurrection unbeknownst to pretty much everyone, where in 2012, almost unannounced, they released their No album to an unsuspecting audience. The band would go on to do a series of sold out live shows and then immediately began writing and creating their massive follow-up. Old Man Gloom’s “reunion” wasn’t just a one-off thing, and here’s a taster to demonstrate why!
Insanely fast and somewhat barking mad the new album from Rings of Saturn “Lugal Ki En” is released October 17th in Europe via Unique Leader Records. It’s a cataclysmic, relentless nearly forty-five-minute display of text-book death metal/deathcore with some serious fast beats and guitar work. A conceptual release based on a story in which the Aliens wage war on the angels and demons of the universe after having conquered humanity, it was produced by Brette Ciamarra at Studio 344 (Kamikabe, Those Who Fear, Trophies) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The custom cover artwork was commissioned to Mark Cooper of Mind Rape Art, who also crafted the art for the band’s seminal “Dingir” album. Comments guitarist, Lucas Mann of the album concept, “The concept of the album in a nutshell is that long after the Aliens conquer humanity, they evolve to a point where they transcend space, time and reality to take their conquest into the realm of the gods where they wage war on angels and demons. The album title Lugal Ki En translates from ancient Sumerian cuneiform to mean ‘King Of The Earthlings, Lord Of The Cosmic World.’ The Sumerian cuneiform is visible behind the English pronunciation of the album title.” I have no doubt the unique vocal stylings and hyper-fast guitar sounds will alienate some – it’s a tad over the top in places – but well worth a listen if you are a fan of this genre.
Nazoranai comprises three gentleman, three friends and three fans of each others creative output. ‘the most painful time happens only once has it arrived already..?’ is their second release , the band members are Haino Keiji, Oren Ambarchi and Stephen O’Malley. Recorded by Chris Fullard at CCSO, Birmingham 9th July 2013 ‘the most painful time…’ expands the trio’s devastating explorations of improvised rock based shapes. Keiji Haino (of Fushitsusha) is a big part of the history of the experimental music of Japan with work spanning free improvisation, rock, noise, singer-songwriter, psychedelia, minimalism and drone. Working mostly with guitar and vocals his performances are intensely cathartic sonic events. Stephen O’Malley is the guitarist and founder of numerous seminal groups including Sunn O))), Khanate and Burning Witch. Oren Ambarchi is a multi-instrumentalist performer working outside conventional approaches to instruments and structure. He has collaborated with the likes of Jim O’Rourke, Sunn O))), Charlemagne Palestine, John Tilbury. Here’s a preview:
Grouper‘s new album “Ruins” is set to be released on October 31st via Kranky, and in anticipation of its release a new track entited “Call Across Rooms” has surfaced. In a brief interview with Vogue magazine Liz Harris explains the meaning behind this heady, gentle and beautifully subtle song…”Call Across Rooms was being about equal parts love and loss. The song is on one level very plain and literal, about a letter I wrote for someone I loved and could not get along with…One a more subconscious, poetic level, it is a letter to myself, as aspiration to love better.” About the album, Harris says…”Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village. The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”
The culmination of four years writing and editing, Anjou marks the first collaboration between Labradford’s Robert Donne and Mark Nelson since the release of that group’s “fixed:context” LP. Combining modular synthesis, Max/MSP programming and live instrumentation, Anjou deftly weaves noise with gentle ambience and melody with texture. Guitar, bass and Steven Hess’ (Locrian, Fennesz, Pan American) live percussion give the eight pieces an immediacy and create a framework for the more abstract sounds of digital and analog synth programming. The product of twenty plus years of friendship, Anjou is refined and challenging. An extension of the Labradford sound-world but no mere victory lap, Anjou represents Donne and Nelson stepping out and forward, their eyes firmly focusing on the future. A delightful set of ambient/mood pieces which mixes textures, tones and glitches and which is both impressive and emotionally fulfilling. Highly recommended.
On September 15th Southern Lord will release all the recorded material from late 1980s Seattle hardcore band, Brotherhood, collecting the influential act’s demos and 7″ releases in one remastered, cohesive anthology entitled “Till Death”.
Brotherhood was formed during the West Coast Hardcore surge in the same days of Insted, Bl’ast, Chain Of Strength and Uniform Choice, the members all bred in the Northwest on The Accused, Poison Idea, The Melvins, and with East Coast threads born of SSD, DYS, Corrosion Of Conformity and Straight Ahead all woven into their sound. A straightedge hardcore band that confronted racism, sexism and intolerance, both in their lyrical delivery and on stage , Brotherhood was a rare band of that scene as they were accepted in all of the subgenres of punk rock and hardcore. The band was founded in Seattle by Greg Anderson in 1987, who recruited former False Liberty drummer Victor Hart, friend Ken Hagel on bass and East Coast transplant and Open Your Eyes fanzine editor, John White on vocals. After years as a singer in False Liberty and Inner Strength, Greg picked up the guitar and started writing songs built upon the aforementioned influences. Following local shows and the opportunity to open for such legends as Youth Of Today, Angry Samoans and Fugazi, Brotherhood began to gain recognition on a much wider scale in the hardcore community. This initial lineup was not to last, as in 1988, Ron Guardipee Of Hateful Youth took over on vocals and Nate Mendel of Diddly Squat joined on bass. Having played many times together in their previous bands things quickly came together for this new and much more solid Brotherhood lineup and in November of that year the Music Bank recording session was conducted. Debuting this new lineup on the Pushead curated Thrasher Magazine’s Skate Rock Vol. 7 compilation Brotherhood soon also released their Of Friends demo, their No Tolerance For Ignorance 7″ on Skate Edge Records and Words Run… As Thick As Blood! 7″ on CR Records, all released in 1988 and 89. Playing throughout the Northwest as well as a North American tour with (quite possibly the bands biggest influence) Seattle’s The Accused, by the end of 1989 Brotherhood came to an end. Their relatively short-lived run went on to inspire many of the seminal bands that have followed in Hardcore and Straight Edge such as Undertow, Unbroken, Champion, No Tolerance and many more. Members of Brotherhood have since forged numerous other musical endeavours including, but by no means limited to, Christ On A Crutch, Sunny Day Real Estate, Foo Fighters, Resolution, Digh Down, Burning Witch, Engine Kid, Sunn O)) and Goatsnake. Southern Lord will release Till Death in deluxe LP and digital download packages.
It is always with a degree of expectation that I wait for the latest offering from Periscope. This time around he has delved into spoken word, collaborating with Gerry Potter, to create something rather magical. Peri says “A little bit of a departure for me in genre terms , a one off collabration with the brilliant Merseyside poet Gerry Potter, there are no plans for any kind of release as yet.” The usual Manc Indie wall of sound has been replaced by a gentle urban/ambient feel with a ear-worm melodic line. Fine stuff indeed. Potter who is an actor and director, as well as being a poet, has an excellent way with words – the full text is reproduced on the You Tube page.
And the excellent new music keeps flowing into the Aural Delights Bunker – sometimes I can’t keep up – what is impressive with this latest selection is the innovation and the blurring of the traditional genre boxes to provide some interesting listening ……let’s kick off with some crust
Trollhättan, Sweden-based Gust, in preparation of the upcoming release of their self-titled second LP, and their first with Southern Lord, have released a preview called “Reality Chokes”….
Self-recorded at Fvck Life Studios, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Warcry, From Ashes Rise, Deathreat, Audiosiege Engineering), who also supplies guest vocals to the album, I am advised that “Gust” (the album) is a crushing but incredibly dynamic album, displaying a unique style of crust-infused hardcore and talented songwriting from the young act. Hopefully I can get a copy and share it on the Sonic Attack Podcast.
The Dan’l Boone album, which will be featured on next weeks Aural Delights Podcast is a challenging listen – and to give you a taste of what to expect here’s a video from the band:
The release date is September 22nd via Drag City.
Reptile Youth are releasing a free download in advance the official “Structures” single which is released next week – it’s called “Clouds” and is previously unreleased.
Since 2013, Ufomammut have been slowly working on a video project which will be released on DVD via Malleus this October. The DVD features over three hours of live footage (including “Magickal Mastery Live”, a 12 song live act), interviews, and outtakes, all documenting these first 15 years of the band. Titled XV, this audiovisual experience will also be available as a special wooden 8GB usb drive. In addition to this DVD release, Ufomammut have confirmed that they shall be heading into the studio to record their seventh studio collection this September. The new album should see the light of day in Spring 2015 via Neurot Recordings. They will return to the US for their first proper tour, as well as a promise of more European live shows. You can preorder XV here – http://supernaturalcat.bigcartel.com/category/xv
The always busy Stuart Estell has released a new bandcamp EP “The Hearer, the Listener and the Blank” under his Lachenalia project – which demonstrates again his virtuosity and willingness to explore a range of different sonic forms. Both ambient and hypnotic the EP melds busy percussion with surging keyboard sounds to create an extremely pleasurable listening experience.
The Lachenalia album “Acts & Monuments” and the single “Leveno” are still available from German Shepherd Records.
“M” is the latest track to be released from Obake’s upcoming second album, “Mutations” , which will be released this October from Rare Noise Records. Like a number of the new album tracks, it begins with a familiar sound, a thick, sludge- like groove recalling multitude numerous titans of the Southern Rock scene, however it soon it breaks down all conventions with a game-changing voice unsettling interlude which segues into mind-boggling progressive rock, replete with minor chords and epic crescendos.
Following hot on the heels of free single Demonstration , and appearance at Song By Toad’s ‘Pale Imitation’ festival, those lovely at Flowers In the Dustbin have announced a new single – “Checking Out” - from Alansmithee, this time recorded in collaboration with Marklar. Sounds damn fine to me:
And to conclude this round up a couple of new releases from German Shepherd records.
First up another KP2 collaboration, this time with Luana’s Black Reptiles – comprising three excellent tracks which explore phobias about insects, provide a tribute to the great jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler, and muse on the thoughts of people waiting to die at Jonestown, Lyrically rich and with a vital sonic palette this is a must listen release which is called “Taken To See The Tiger”
The second is the sophomore outing from Modal Roberts called “Motion Blur” which could be subtitled adventures in dub and self deprecation – Modal mixes things up with a, sometimes, tongue in cheek exploration of dance/electronica tropes, post punk moves and funky workouts all wrapped up in a neat little selection of five tunes which demonstrate variety in sound and lyrical content. Always impressive is his ability to somehow subvert the genre norms, mess around with them and create something which is both entrancing and thought provoking.
A more than acceptable week of new music over the last seven days with some exceptional albums coming in for evaluation and podcasting. Some of these have been trailed in an earlier post……
First up the latest from Earth “Primitive and Deadly” which is released on September 1st on Southern Lord. Carlson has gone back to his early work for this one – a blistering set of rock oriented tunes which are dynamic, epic and packing a guitar driven punch that few can match. Add guest vocals from Mark Laneghan and Rabia Shaheen Qazi (Rose Windows) and you have something special indeed. As much as Carlson’s guitar has always been the focal point of Earth’s music, it’s been surrounded by consistently diverse instrumentation. Here the dialog between Carlson and Adrienne Davies drumming remains pivotal, underpinned by the sympathetic bass of Bill Herzog (Sunn 0))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and thickened by additional layers of guitar from Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) & Jodie Cox (Narrows). Thick, dense and overdriven, melodically rich & enveloping, “Primitive and Deadly” is Earth reaffirming their position as leaders in guitar based music.
It’s safe to call Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in the city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am. Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady mix of prog, post-rock, math-rock and funk The pair of 20-minute pieces featured on the album “Zubberdust!” is the culmination of the group’s first two years of development. (The pieces are subdivided into sections for CD and digital track IDs.) This is (mostly) instrumental rock that blends a primitivist repetition with organic ever-shifting electronic overlays – along with the occasional full-stop and 180 degree turn. JS Truchy’s wordless lead vocals (and his choral arrangement on “Face à l’instant”) add compelling textural and melodic counterpoints while lending the music an especially timeless feel. Pretty hard to fit this in a specific genre basket given the variety of things going on but overall a damn fine album which might have a slight touch of Zeuhl about it. It’s released on Constellation on 29th September.
As trailed a couple of weeks back Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield. In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. With its combination of assured lyricism, cinematic guitars, dusky analog atmospherics and taut percussion, this is a vivid, concise and expressive instrumental album that sits snugly between fellow label acts Do Make Say Think and Exhaust on the one hand, Hrsta, Tindersticks and Evangelista on the other. The self-titled album is released on Constellation on 13th October and makes for a fascinating listen.
Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album (as reviewed here) that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy. Constellation are releasing a vinyl- and digital-only EP “Once More With Feeling” which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so. It’s a very fine set of tunes that highlights and brings fans up to date with Ought’s first two years of songwriting, revealing additional facets of the band, including its ability to play with nostalgia and balladry (“Pill”), feverish Iggy Stooge like revival-tent testifying (“New Calm Pt. 2″), and improv/abstraction (“New Calm Pt. 3″). Out on 27th October from Constellation and highly recommended by the Eccles judge.
This September, two years after the remarkable “Atma”, doom trio powerhouse YOB release “Clearing The Path To Ascend”, an aptly titled album for what is a crowning achievement for a band whose journey now nears two decades of creating music. As commanding as it is cathartic, as is the YOB way, the four tracks on this album don’t simply offer the usual riff-soaked doom genre. YOB break barriers, clearing the way for genuinely visceral listening experience. There are some clear influences such as Cathedral, Sleep, Electric Wizard, and Black Sabbath – however they have distilled this into their own sound with threads of progressive rock and drone melding in with the heavy rock elements. With a ferocity that’s as completely unhinged as it is utterly focused this is a remarkable hour and two minutes of music . Drummer Travis Foster wields his signature rhythmic furore while bassist Aaron Rieseberg, provides unforgiving pulse – all the while in a impressive synchronicity with Mike Scheidt’s uncanny vocal range and signature guitar sound. Released on Neurot on September 1st.
The Melvins return with “Hold It In” (Ipecac) , their first studio album as a quartet since 2010’s “The Bride Screams Murder”, on October 14th. Joining Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover for the 12-song outing are Butthole Surfers‘ guitar player Paul Leary and bass player JD Pinkus. Hold It In was recorded in both Los Angeles and Austin earlier this year. “Hold It In is a refreshing piece of fiction in a boring world of fact and bullsh*t,” said Osborne. “Paul is one of the best guitar players I have ever heard and Pinkus has an outside the box type of approach to both guitar and bass that you just have to let it ride. I can’t believe this actually happened. I’m thrilled.” “It’s very rare you get a chance to work with three folks from the ‘Break A Wish’ foundation, all at the same time,” said Pinkus. “I believe they’ll remember their experience with me forever (or until they finally all lose their fight with S.I.D.S).”
Here’s a preview
Torch Runner are back in no time with news of their forthcoming LP, titled “Endless Nothing”. On it, the North Carolina trio set off rabid grind, repellent metallic clout and hardline vocal harangue in an uncontrolled explosion, which will attract lovers of bands like Napalm Death, Converge and Nails. It is due for a 29th September release, available as CD and limited edition vinyl formats on Southern Lord. Here is an example of what you will get:
Other highly recommended releases coming soon, or indeed out now:
- Dead Sea Apes – Thermionic Emissions Vol 2 – Bandcamp (Out Now)
- Society Sucker – Society Sucker – Get This Right Records (16th September)
- Sounds of Sputnik – New Born featuring Ummagma – Ear to Ear Records (Out Now)
Some very good new things have arrived already this week……a mixed bag of genre’s which suits me
Vancouver’s Baptists share the first new track from their upcoming second album, Bloodmines, which is due for release via Southern Lord on 13th October.
Arriving at the album’s mid point, ‘Harm Induction’ is a volatile, high speed, turbo-charged rager. As the guitar riffs scale to an ear-splitting climax, the vocals also reach the peak of absolute seething anger. Harm Induction is unrelenting, near suffocating, and highly cathartic.
Le Butcherettes have joined Ipecac Recordings’ roster and will release their second album release, Cry Is For The Flies, on Sept. 29 via the label in conjunction with Nadie Sound.
“Since I created Le Butcherettes in Guadalajara, I’ve always yearned for the band to be part of a label/community that helps and supports artists to act fearlessly and help serve the music.” explained fiery Le Butcherettes front-woman Teri Gender Bender. “So happy beyond words that we’ve found a family in Ipecac. Dream come true.”
“We are EXTREMELY excited to be working with Le Butcherettes,” said Ipecac Recordings Co-Owner Greg Werckman. “Teresa is a dynamic front person and a perfect fit with the Ipecac family. Not a band to miss on record or live.”
The eleven-song release had previously been available exclusively as a digital download via producer Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s label Nadie Sound’s website but, as of September 29th, will be made available on physical formats (CD/vinyl) as well as through various digital service providers including iTunes.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Teri said of the subject matter on Cry Is For The Flies: “There are so many demons I have inside – they’re little gods. There’s a god of evil, the god of good, the god of sex, the god of lust. With music, I tap into those god demons. It’s therapy.”
Cry Is For The Flies was recorded at Infrasonic and Kingsize Studios in Los Angeles. The album features guests Henry Rollins (“Moment of Guilt”) and Shirley Manson (“Shame, You’re All I’ve Got”). Le Butcherettes is Teri Gender Bender (vocals, guitar, keys) and Lia Braswell (drums). They shall be touring the album in support of Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s band Antemasque.
Black Earth are a four piece band from Sheffield whose influences includes Joy Division and QOTSA. Heavy drumbeats and strong guitar riffs are the perfect back drop for a dark and often mysterious vocal creating a sound that draws you in. Three tracks are available via their Bandcamp page – worth checking out…..
At long last a new album from Monster Island – a band always worth checking out if only for Stephen Waddicor’s particular utterings about the world – they do not disappoint with their latest offering called The House of Lancaster which appears on first hearing to be even more unhinged than previous releases. Bloomin’ marvellous say I. They will be playing songs from the new album etc. on 3rd September at The Castle, Oldham Street, Manchester with Locean (who I must check out) and Un Deux Trois.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based demolition union, Die Choking , is prepared to shove their second wave of hyperactive, earthmoving grind/thrash down the world’s collective throat, with II on September 29th – expect some airplay on the Sonic Attack Podcast around and about that time. Five tracks in 5m 57s gives a sense of the content – scabrous vocals, impossibly fast D-Beat drumming and confrontational bass and guitar make for fascinating listening.
New Born, the debut album from Moscow’s Sounds of Sputnik, is a kaleidoscope of reverb-soaked guitar, calculated drums, thick bass, and angular guitars intertwined with ethereal vocals. This is extraordinary noise-pop, with layered harmonies, interlacing synth and distorted guitars. Sounds of Sputnik paired up with Canadian-Ukrainian duo Ummagma to co-write, produce, and record this album, to be released on UK label Ear to Ear Records. Ummagma’s Shauna McLarnon and Alexx Kretov both contribute mesmerizing vocals.
Following their 2013 reunion, the Californian hardcore/thrash metal crossover band Excel have since teamed up with Southern Lord and are reissuing their debut album, Split Image (originally released through Suicidal and Caroline records). Widely regarded as a classic album, Split Image was produced by Randy Burns (Death, Possessed, Megadeth, Kreator, Suicidal Tendencies). The reissue shall be officially released on 29 September.
Remastered by Brad Boatright (Bl’ast!, Sleep, Obituary, Black Breath) the Split Image Southern Lord issue comes with a massive amount of bonus material including the Welcome to Venice comp tracks, Personal Onslaught Demo & Refuse to Quit Demo). The LP Includes a 32 page 7”X7” booklet with tons of photos from the era and a 11” x 17” poster of the original Michael Seiff album cover artwork. The CD contains bonus demo material (Personal Onslaught & Refuse to Quit Demos). Also including a booklet with many rare/unseen photos. A crucial documentation of an essential crossover band.
Having formed in 1984, they released three studio albums as well as a number of demos and singles. Equally informed by punk rock’s attitude and heavy metal’s riffs, their fast, grinding and heavy sounds, combined with their intelligent lyrics, set them apart as a genre defining band of the era. The current line-up includes Dan Clements on vocals, Shaun Ross on bass, Mike Cosgrove on drums and Alex Barreto (Chain Of Strength) on guitar.
A new Grouper album is news, highly anticipated and best introduced in Liz Harris’ own words, here’s the story…
“Ruins was made in Aljezur, Portugal in 2011 on a residency set up by Galeria Zé dos Bois. I recorded everything there except the last song, which I did at mother’s house in 2004. Iʼm still surprised by what I wound up with. It was the first time Iʼd sat still for a few years; processed a lot of political anger and emotional garbage. Recorded pretty simply, with a portable 4-track, Sony stereo mic and an upright piano. When I wasnʼt recording songs I was hiking several miles to the beach. The path wound through the ruins of several old estates and a small village.”
“The album is a document. A nod to that daily walk. Failed structures. Living in the remains of love. I left the songs the way they came (microwave beep from when power went out after a storm); I hope that the album bears some resemblance to the place that I was in.”
As the release of Yob‘s forthcoming album Clearing The Path To Ascend dawns, the band reveal one of the four tracks on it, the brutally heavy “Unmask The Spectre”. The band have already revealed snippets of the track via their album trailer, now it is time to hear the whole thing. Here’s what Mike Scheidt has to say about the song…”This part of the album gets dark, but it also has a sense of beauty and resolve. The mood and atmosphere nod equal parts to old and new YOB. It’s one of my favorite things we’ve ever done.“
In celebration of Old World New Wave, the impending new release from Ides Of Gemini, here is the first official sampling of the record with “The Chalice & The Blade.”
Relays singer/bassist Sera Timms of the tune, “The main riff [guitarist] J [Bennett] brought in for ‘…Chalice…’ marches in as a transcendent assault with [drummer] Kelly [Johnston-Gibson]’s oppressive, jagged beat moving it forward like some re-animated corpse. A mechanized shamanic trance that sent me straight into the underworld lyrically.”
The follow-up to the band’s 2012 Constantinople debut, Old World New Wave was recorded at Valley Recording in Burbank, California, engineered and mixed by Chris Rakestraw (Danzig), mastered by Grammy award winning producer Matt Hyde (Slayer) and boasts the striking hand-drawn cover art of Kelly Johnston-Gibson.
There has been a lot happening in the last seven days so here is a quick bullet point round-up of some of the news which has been brought to my attention:
- Monster Island have a new album – their fifth – called “House of Lancaster” out on Monday 25th August – which is excellent news for lovers of their particularly fascinating approach to music
- Mr Heart have got a new bassist to replace Sophie Lord – she is Amy Spray – and they have a gig in Bolton on 30th August at the Blind Tiger with Coroner for the Police
- German Shepherd records have a new EP out by a band called Scratchings, No Gravy – it’s called “Eccles Cross Breakdown” and you can get it here. The next releases on the label will be a new EP from Modal Roberts and the re-release of the excellent album from The Bacillus called “I Can’t Adapt To This Prison You Call Society”
- In further German Shepherd news the label is co-curating a gig with Louder Than War signings Kill Pretty at Dulcimer, Chorlton, Manchester on 12th and 19th September. Kill Pretty headline both nights and have special guests – West Coast Sick Line, Indian Pale Male and Poppycock on the 12th, and 2 Koi Karp, Andy T plus As Able As Kane on the 19th. Advance tickets are available with a booking fee from here. All of those purchasing advance tickets will get a free set of Kill Pretty badges when they arrive at the gig!
- Earth‘s brand new full-length studio LP, Primitive And Deadly, the album shall be released in less than two weeks through Southern Lord. With founding guitarist Dylan Carlson weaving his slow-motion, organic dirges throughout the amazingly restrained percussion of his longtime cohort Adrienne Davies, the duo are here joined by bassist Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and additional guitarists Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows lends her angelic voice to the album’s third composition, “From The Zodiacal Light,” as heard in recent weeks, while the fifth track, “Rooks Across The Gate” and second track, “There Is a Serpent Coming,” feature evocative vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan previously of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and more. The lyrics for “Rooks…” were written by Dylan Carlson and the lyrics for “Serpent..” by Lanegan.
- Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche is a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in this city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am. Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady avant-funk. They have an album out on Constellation on 29th September. Looks interesting from the notes I have seen.
- Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, both longtime fixtures of experimental/punk scenes rooted in the cross-province hub of Hull/Ottawa (straddling the border of Quebec and Ontario, respectively). In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of haunted blues-folk ensemble Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. It is released on Constellation on 13th October.
- Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy; and with live performances in which it is reported that the band’s channeling of genuine passion, politics and charisma are consistently connecting with and exuberantly galvanizing audiences. While they continue their relentless touring across North America and Europe this Autumn, Constellation will be releasing a vinyl- and digital-only EP which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so. Ought will be doing a full UK tour in November. The EP is called “Once More With Feeling” and is released on 27th October.
Dan’l Boone is Charles Ballas (Formant), Neil Hagerty (ex Royal Trux, Howling Hex), Nate Young (Wolf Eyes, Regression) and Alex Moskos (Drainolith) they have a self-titled album out on September 24th on Drag City. The promo that comes with the album – which talks about a distant earth like planet 5,000 light years away – appears on the surface to have little at all to do with the musical content. Indeed further gnomic utterances from the band members shed little light on what this is all about. All I can divine is that the proposition is the music is meant to be for the people who might live on that planet.
On one hand this album could be seen as pretentious self-indulgent noodling – on the other hand it’s a work of sonic genius – i’ll leave you to work out which of those extremes applies. To my mind it appears that the four musicians are applying a free jazz aesthetic to their compositions (if indeed that is what they are), and i’m talking Cecil Taylor at his most obtuse, or something dragged kicking and screaming from a German free jazz workshop. The other thing it calls to mind is experimental sonic artists Biota, or the more extreme parts of a Sonic Youth album, or JOMF and bands of that ilk.
There is no specific form here – in essence, and for the most part, it is a collection of layered and interacting shards of noise – be it vocal, what sounds like defenestrated guitars, non percussion instruments used as percussion, or synthesizer squawks and swirls. That is until the fourth track which is an ambient/dub leaning piece which melts into an a wall of colliding voices, and fifth track which sounds like the soundtrack to a particularly horrific science fiction film, with Dylan Carlson-esque guitar interventions.
A challenging listen for the most part, I enjoyed it immensely, whether you would is another matter entirely, and I guess that’s the point.
In direct contradiction to their name, Paris-based quintet Cowards is anything but weak or inhibited in their delivery. Thundering with massive, low-end amplification and a downcast, scathing vocal delivery, their noxious brew of sludge/doom is not from, or for, the weak of heart.
Formed by current and ex-members of Sickbag, Death Mercedes, Hangman’s Chair, Eibon and Hellbats, they have already built a reputable arsenal of destructive audio since forming in 2011, but will take this year by the throat in several ways, with a reissue of their debut album, and plans for their next full-length studio endeavour confirmed.
Gathering Parisians with an already strong pedigree in dark and heavy music, the band combines hardcore, sludge/doom and black metal on their 2012-released debut LP, Shooting Blanks & Pills. Recorded only six months after the band was formed, the album reflects the crudeness of bands like Eyehategod, Deadguy or Kickback and the darkness of Deathspell Omega or Thou. Producer Francis Caste perfectly captured the corrosion and angst of these thirty-eight minutes, with a no-frills approach. Originally released on France’s Throatruiner Records, Shooting Blanks & Pills is long sold out, yet will see a rebirth on CD and transparent 12” LP via Canadian label Secret Handshake Recordings on September 1st, 2014.
Cowards has also booked studio time this October to lay down their sophomore full-length, the follow-up to 2013’s mangling Hoarder EP. The band will return to Sainte-Marthe Studio once again with Francis Caste at the engineering helm for the as-yet-unnamed works, which will be completed for early 2015 release.
A track from the album will be featured on a forthcoming Sonic Attack podcast.
Iconic New York death metal band, Internal Breeding, will release their long-anticipated new full-length, Imperium, this September via Unique Leader Records. Produced by the band alongside Joe Cincotta at Full Force Studio (Suffocation, Dehumanized, Mortal Decay) in Ronkonkoma, New York and engineered by Cincotta and Derek Boyer, Imperium features artwork from Mircea Gabriel Eftemie (Carcass, Cryptopsy, The Haunted, Nevermore et al) and serves as the band’s most sonically challenging release to date.
Although Imperium is a new album, it is, in many ways, deeply rooted in the band’s past — a culmination of strong emotions that have been bubbling their way to the surface since 1992’s Invocation Of Evil demo was made available.
Elaborates the band in a thorough analysis of the record, “Ever since Invocation Of Evil was released, many in the music press and industry simply dismissed the band as another generic death metal band. We knew different, our fans knew different and the underground press certainly knew different. They understood that we offered something fresh and unique: death metal that focused on pit-friendly grooves, catchiness and hooks that you could actually remember. At the time, we called this approach to death metal ‘Total Fucking Slam.’ And though we garnered a great deal of underground acceptance, we had to fight a perpetual uphill battle against critics, naysayers and elitists who did nothing but talk a lot shit and run their mouths behind our backs or in print. We ignored them and kept plowing forward, but we never forget….
To add insult to injury, our first two albums suffered from horrendous productions which no doubt made it more challenging to get people to truly understand our music. And by the time our third and fourth albums were released, we had no label or tour support and limited resources to keep things going. By the early-to-mid 2000s, we were a broken and dispirited unit and eventually fell into inactivity and disarray.
Eventually our term — slam — had been picked up by hundreds of underground bands and a whole new genre of death metal was spawned. The seeds we had planted had finally come to bloom yet we were unable to enjoy even a modicum of recognition for it. It had been an extremely frustrating twenty years. We gave it our best, but in the end, we fell short of our goals.
These experiences, plus other personal setbacks and tragedies, are the impetus behind the album title Imperium. It means a dominion of absolute power. It’s a statement to those who have caused anyone to feel slighted, disrespected, tormented and generally abused. It’s a clarion call to the victims of these tormentors — the abused child, the bands that struggle and come up short, the outcast, the geek and the populations that have been crushed under the boot of totalitarianism — to rise up, join us and take a rightful place at the throne of power. With Imperium, the time has finally come to turn the tables on the tormentors and make them suffer.
The artwork is also deeply meaningful. We wanted to create an atmosphere that was dark and threatening and were really impressed by the work of Mircea Gabriel Eftemie. He nailed it almost immediately. At the center of the cover is a half-human/half-alien creature holding a withered skull. This creature represents the new master that has risen to power. It is half alien because as our fans know, we have carried on a tradition of using alien themes on our albums since day one. It also represents those who are outcast and treated as an alien to their own race. This alien is holding the skull of his past tormentor, which represents the change in power and the rise of the new Imperium. There are a lot of interesting things that go on in the background, which we’d rather leave open to interpretation. And then there’s the music…”
Imperium will released via Unique Leader Records on September 30th, 2014.
A track from the album will be featured on a future Sonic Attack podcast.